(Bloomberg) — Macaroni pie doesn’t sit entirely well with plans for a healthy January.
I’m trying to lose weight, and I should certainly avoid a recipe that features fatty cheese, pasta and double cream. But in terms of fun and simple indulgence, this does fit the bill. It’s a bit like going into a restaurant and ordering pizza and mac ‘n’ cheese.
British chef Mark Hix first tried the dish at a beachside restaurant in Barbados.
“I’d never come across a macaroni pie in England and I thought it’s a good idea,” he says. “Most people love macaroni cheese anyway, and you can make small pies to take away or serve as bar snacks. I’ve never served them in my restaurants but I might give them a go in my pub (The Fox Inn, in Dorset) whenever we can finally open” after the coronavirus lockdown.
I bought in pastry and ordered baking beans online to blind bake the base. Everything seemed pretty simple and straightforward, though I did somehow manage to scorch the pastry, so it is worth keeping a close eye on the oven rather than just setting a timer. The recipe is adapted from one that appears in the book “Mark Hix on Baking.”
Mark says the recipe serves six to eight people, but I am guessing that is for snacks. I reckon it should be good for four if served with a salad. I normally just eat everything that I cook but even I didn’t manage to polish off this pie, which is rather rich.
200 grams (7 ounces) to 250g shortcrust pastry, rolled to 1/3 centimeter (1/8 inch) thick150g macaroni, cooked300g mascarpone cheese150g grated cheddar cheese plus another 20g to scatter on top150 milliliters (5.1 fluid ounces) double creamSalt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius (356 Fahrenheit) gas mark 4. Grease and line an approximately 25cm x 3cm-deep flan tin with a removable base with the shortcrust pastry and trim the edges.
Place foil or greaseproof paper on pastry and fill with baking beans; bake for about 15 minutes, remove the greaseproof paper and beans and return the pastry to the oven for another 6-7 minutes, then remove from the oven. Make sure to keep the oven turned on, at a slightly hotter 200C.
Meanwhile, melt the mascarpone in a thick-bottomed pan with the cheddar and bring it to the boil. Add the double cream, season with salt and pepper and simmer for a couple of minutes until it thickens. Whisk the sauce well and mix with the cooked pasta.
Put the macaroni mixture into the flan case and scatter the extra cheddar on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned.
Richard Vines is Chief Food Critic at Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines and Instagram @richard.vines.