This is no ordinary macaroni by any standards. I specialize in various different types of macaroni bakes – but today, I lost the plot in the kitchen as I was resolute in my decision to create the best ever baked macaroni in the universe. How was I going to do this ? I guess, by believing I had the tools and the “mind-taste” synchrony on my side – and today the culinary Midas touch was abundant in me, and about me. The result – in a word, SUBLIME !
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- olive oil for frying
- 1 cup chopped porcini mushrooms
- 2 cups soya mince, or other vegan mince of your choice – I use Linda McCartney Veggiemince (OR 2 cups chopped pecan nuts)
- 3 tbsp tomato puree
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp curry powder
- a little fresh thyme
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 10 Greek or Cypriot black olives (the salted ones), pitted & chopped (optional)
- 2 cups spinach
- ½ cup red pepper, finely chopped
- paprika for dusting on top of the dish before baking
- extra olive oil
- extra vegan cheese of your choice
- 400g ribbed macaroni (rigatoni or tortiglioni), boiled & then rinsed in cold water, then set aside in a large bowl.
INGREDIENTS FOR TOPPING
- 2 parsnips, chopped into small squares. Steam until a little soft, then set aside until cooled.
WHITE ‘CHEESE’ SAUCE INGREDIENTS
- 1 cup soya cream, or other thin vegan cream of your choice (preferably not nut milk, as it over thickens)
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup of vegan grated melting cheese
- a pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground garlic
METHOD FOR THE WHITE ‘CHEESE SAUCE’
Just place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Then heat up in a small casserole until it thickens nicely – it needs to be a medium thick consistency, not a blob, so you can still manage to pour it.
Optional extra grated fake parmesan cheese :
(for topping on the dish or for serving at table)
- ½ cup of mixed cashews & almonds
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- a little salt to taste
Mix together in the food processor, and use as grated cheese.
METHOD FOR THE SAUCE
Heat up your oil in a large non-stick pan, add the onion, and stir for a minute until cooked. Then add the chilli, garlic and your mushrooms, whilst continuing to stir. Now add in the vegan mince (or crushed pecan nuts), mix, then add the coriander seeds and curry powder, and continue mixing.
Next, add in the spinach and red peppers – lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the remaining sauce ingredients. Taste for salt, as it will need some.
Finally, grease a deep oven-proof dish (minimum 3” deep), tip your macaroni into the sauce, and give it a good old toss, making sure everything has blended well.
Place half the macaroni mix into your dish, then pour over all your white sauce on top of it, sprinkle a handful of parsnips in at this point, and place some more vegan cheese dotted around the dish.
Now add the remaining macaroni, then add the remaining parsnips on top with your hands, drizzle on some olive oil, and sprinkle some more salt, paprika, and a little more thyme if you like. Also, turn a few pieces of macaroni outwards to face north – to stand up vertically, as per my pics. They will likely slightly burn, but they will be crunchy and very yummy – I only have them like this once in a blue moon, but they’re worth it !
Bake in a hot oven (200C) for 40 minutes, or until dark golden on top.
Serve with a plain herb green salad of your choice.
MMMMMmmelt and Enjoy !!!!
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