Macaroni Pie

In college my friend used to whip up his famous “macaroni and cheese” using milk, American cheese and angel hair pasta. So simple yet so satisfying. This is sort of an homage to that, but more so it’s just an interesting way of serving a spaghetti side-dish in a unique, sliced manner. I put my French cooking education to work here – making a quick béchamel to really help bind the pasta and keep each bite creamy and delicious.

SHOPPING LIST: 1 box angel hair pasta, 1 stick unsalted butter, 2 eggs, AP flour, milk, American cheese, shredded mozzarella, parmesan cheese, ground mustard, nutmeg, salt, pepper

First, wipe your skillet with olive oil and throw it into a 375 degree oven to pre-heat while you’re prepping. Since we are using a long pasta, I actually like to boil the pasta water in a wide, shallow saucepan. (You can totally use 2 pots for this and cook your pasta + prepare you sauce simultaneously but for the ease of filling your sink with dishes I am going to explain this a 2-part process.)

Especially since this is a BAKED pasta recipe, we are going to make sure to UNDERCOOK our angel hair – no more than 6 minutes!! Strain your al dente angel hair (reserving a 1/2 cup of pasta water JUST in case) and immediately give it a toss in about 1/2 cup of olive oil to ensure the strands don’t stick together. I like to use tongs to mix the pasta with the olive oil to really make sure that your strands are well-coated.

Once your pasta is strained, you can give the same pot a quick cleaning and use it for your béchamel. Melt the entire stick of butter over medium heat. When your butter is totally melted, add 1/2 cup of flour and whisk well. Bring the heat to medium-high and allow your roux to begin to bubble and cook. I like to cook my roux for about 90 seconds. Add 4 cups of milk and continue whisking. Your milk will begin to thicken into a beautiful cream sauce – your basic béchamel. Turn your heat down to low and add 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella and 4 slices of American cheese (I just rip the cheese with my hands). Season your béchamel with 1 tsp. ground mustard, 1 tsp. black better, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg and 1 tB. salt. (If your cheese sauce is getting a bit too thick, you can always thin it out with some of your pasta water.)

Add your pasta directly into your cheese sauce and mix thoroughly. Give both eggs a quick mix in a cup and then add them directly directly into the pasta mixture, using your same tongs to really incorporate everything. After the egg is mixed in, remove your hot skillet from the oven and add the pasta directly into your hot skillet, using a spatula to flatten the top. Finish with 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and a final sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Bake your Macaroni Pie in the oven for 18 minutes (rotating half-way through) or until the parmesan is starting to brown and bubble. ALLOW the pie to cool! If you serve this too hot, you won’t be able to cut perfect slices of macaroni pie. This is an awesome dish to bring to other people’s houses because it presents really beautifully and can be re-heated quickly and easily since it’s served in the cooking dish. The only problem about bringing it to someone else’s house (as I learned this weekend) is then you don’t have the leftovers. Oh, the things I would have done with that Macaroni Pie.

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