Feb 9, 2009

Dutch Macaroni

 

A question I’m often asked; “What package did you use? Geez, thanks a lot, so when something tastes good, it has to be a package, right? :)

I have to admit I seldom to never use packages for anything. It’s not that I’m a food purist—I just really don’t like the faint suggestion of something chemical I always seem to taste in there. I get far better results with simple herbs and spices. It’s much cheaper and tastier once you found the right combination.

That also applies to our Dutch macaroni, which is slightly different from the American version. We eat our macaroni ‘bolognese style‘ with lots of added vegetables. Many people here will use some sort of pre made seasoning/tomato powder package called spaghetti & macaroni mix. It’s from the devil! Absolutely horrible stuff.

Here’s how I make my macaroni! It’s a simple and honest recipe with an amazing outcome. Not too caloric either. My little man always has seconds and sometimes even thirds, so maybe your kiddo will like it, too.

 

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste (2.5 oz)
1 bell pepper
1 large onion
2 medium carrot
2 garlic cloves
1 leek
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika powder
2 tsp sugar
pepper
salt

 

Directions:

My vegetables usually vary; it depends on what’s in my fridge. Zucchini works great in this dish, so does eggplant, or even small broccoli florets. Even though I like it best with ground beef, using ham or ground turkey is also delicious as I’m sure sausage is as well. Here are the veggies I’ve used this time. Pretty basic stuff as you can see.

 

Now you can cut it all by hand, but I’m not going to! I’m using my food processor for this. It’s 20 times faster. Peel and coarsely cut up the carrots.

 

Wash and coarsely chop the bell pepper as well.

 

I’ve also cut the onion in 4 parts. Now I could say I simply forgot to take the photo, but that would be lying. So I’ll just confess that my photo turned out so horribly out of focus and blurry I’m saving myself the embarrassment of posting it here. I’m a wimp :)

Wash and cut up a leek, and make sure you get the photo right!

 

Throw everything in your food processor, blitz a few times and voila … all the work is done for you! This is the life!

 

I’ve grated 2 decent sized garlic cloves.

 

You can cook your ground beef as is, but I always season it first with 1 1/2 tsp salt, a pinch of pepper and a little nutmeg. I like it better that way. Break the meat up with a fork or spatula while cooking it over medium heat.

 

Drain off the fat. Yes, I’ve drained all of it. New years resolution and something about a big bottom!

 

Heat 2 tbsp oil and add the vegetables & garlic. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.

 

Add the tomato paste, stir and cook for a minute. This will sweeten the tomato paste a bit.

 

Plunge in the 2 cans diced tomatoes.

 

Spoon in 1 tbsp dried basil, 1 tbsp dried oregano, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp onion powder and 1 tsp sweet paprika powder. Add pepper or cayenne to taste.

 

Add the meat to the sauce. Put the lid on and simmer the sauce, over low heat, for 30 minutes.

 

In the mean time I’ve cooked 2 cups of (small) macaroni in salted water. Drained them, rinsed them (I always rinse my pasta) and added them to the sauce. I’m making quite a lot, but this macaroni freezes very well.

 

Heat the macaroni through thoroughly and serve with grated or sliced Parmesan cheese. This is comfort food deluxe!

      

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    49 Comments »

    1. 1

      You know…this is something I’ve been learning these past few months. That chemical quality on packaged foods has finally tipped me over the edge – I just can’t stand it anymore. This from a (over) working single mum who has relied on that jar/packet/box of prepacked food to make cooking dinner a 20 minute job.

      Problem is, that not only does it have a “fake” taste…but they all start to taste the same. And not particularly flavourful, either.

      So, thanks to you guys (you and PW and a couple of others) I’m experimenting with some “from scratch” recipes. So far so good. Will definitely try this one.

      Zehava on Feb 9, 2009 @ 8:56 am Reply
    2. 2

      Zehava, I just can’t eat it anymore. It makes me cringe when I taste the prepacked tomato sauce mix. So in stead I’ll just make a double batch of my own macaroni and freeze half of it.

      Kay on Feb 9, 2009 @ 9:04 am Reply
    3. 3

      I realize most of your food consist of tomato paste. Will that bring out the flavour of the beef?? Or can I replace beef by pork meat?

      New Kid On The Blog on Feb 9, 2009 @ 10:16 am Reply
    4. 4

      New kid on the blog, it’s a bolognese sauce, of course it has tomato paste in it :)

      You can use whatever meat you like. Also mentioned in the posting that this dish is great with ham.

      Kay on Feb 9, 2009 @ 10:18 am Reply
    5. 5

      I would call that a goulash not a Macaroni. Though I know Goulash isn’t actually supposed to have noodles in it. The ones I grew up eating always did :)

      Rachelle on Feb 9, 2009 @ 2:45 pm Reply
    6. 6

      Rachelle, a goulash is something entirely different here! We don’t eat goulash with ground beef but with steak or stew meat. Goulash is very heavy on paprika flavor here (generally 4 bell peppers and 1 1/2 tbsp paprika powder), is drowning in sauce, has no leeks or carrots in it, no oregano or basil and is served with rice.

      I should be posting our goulash recipe, too! It’s a delicious winter meal!

      Kay on Feb 9, 2009 @ 2:56 pm Reply
    7. 7

      This looks absolutely wonderful. Thanks.

      Mom24@4evermom on Feb 9, 2009 @ 3:40 pm Reply
    8. 8

      My Mom called this goulash or koodle moodle -The latter because it was thrown together with what ever veggies she found in the fridge.It has always been a family favorite. real comfort food! :o)

      Glenda on Feb 9, 2009 @ 4:23 pm Reply
    9. 9

      What size cans of tomato did you use? It looks great and I think my kids would like it. I also like the tip on the food processor. While I find chopping veggies soothing (crazy I know) I think my kids would eat more of them if they can’t see them.

      Linda on Feb 9, 2009 @ 5:13 pm Reply
    10. 10

      Linda, our can sizes are a similar to the hunts; 14.5oz. They don’t sell the 28oz cans here!

      Kay on Feb 9, 2009 @ 5:24 pm Reply
    11. 11

      Looks great Kay! And I am glad it doesn’t come from a package. Packaged foods always taste funny to me.

      katie on Feb 9, 2009 @ 6:22 pm Reply
    12. 12

      Kay – I found your website through Pioneer Woman, and I have to say I LOVE your site! yoru food is simple and SO tastey. I couldn’t agree more about the packages of food having a slight (sometimes overpowering) chemical flavor.

      I have a random question for you – My husband and I lived in Amsterdam for a while a few years ago, and we fell IN LOVE with Van Dobben Kroketten. Have you ever had any luck replicating kroketten? Or bitterballen? I’ve been trying to find a recipe with no luck, adn it’s been about 2 years since we’ve been back to the NL, so I’ve almsot forgotten the flavor, and oh how we miss that flavor. we were joking that we’re almsot ready to get the toddler a passport and head back for a vacation just for the Kroketten :) And people say Dutch food is unremarkable!

      Anyhow, I love your blog – please keep the great recipes and idea comming :)
      Jessica

      jessica on Feb 9, 2009 @ 6:25 pm Reply
    13. 13

      Jessica, I’ve tried to make kroketten on several occasions but it’s harder than I thought it to be to get that specific flavor. The van Dobben ones are so good. I recently stumbled upon a recipe that claims is as good as the van Dobben kroketten. I’ll let you know once I’ve tried it.

      Kay on Feb 9, 2009 @ 7:42 pm Reply
    14. 14

      Jessica:
      I’m not sure where you live but try to check out a European deli if you can find one. Sometimes they carry frozen Kroketten (or Croquetten as I’ve seen it spelled) or Bitterballen. I live in Ontario Canada (alot of Dutch people here) and there is a place in Peterborough that makes and freezes them and distributes to Dutch stores and various deli’s. They’re not bad at all but not as good as my dad’s. I’m lucky as there is a Dutch store by my house and one close to work:)

      Randi on Feb 9, 2009 @ 7:47 pm Reply
    15. 15

      Do you think I can cook this with ground turkey?

      Annie Wild on Feb 9, 2009 @ 7:53 pm Reply
    16. 16

      Annie, I wrote down -right before the first recipe photo- that it’s also great with ham or ground turkey!

      Kay on Feb 9, 2009 @ 8:14 pm Reply
    17. 17

      This recipe reminds me of one I used to make when my kids were little. Besides the ground beef, macaroni, tomatoes,onion, mine had a can of corn in it (like your chile con carne) I only used chili powder and garlic salt in it and topped it with black olives and cheddar cheese. My kids ate that up!

      Lindie on Feb 9, 2009 @ 8:39 pm Reply
    18. 18

      DAMN that looks incredible and will be a winner in this house!!!

      Cathy on Feb 10, 2009 @ 12:13 am Reply
    19. 19

      With 2 cans of diced tomatoes, I’m sure this will make A LOT! Brilliant for parties with kids! This is kids-friendly!

      Mrs Ergül on Feb 10, 2009 @ 2:49 am Reply
    20. 20

      This is so much like the American Chop Suey that I make. I refuse to use package or bottled anything. I just don’t put the veggies in mine

      Madeline St Onge on Feb 10, 2009 @ 2:49 am Reply
    21. 21

      This looks absolutely out of this world, I love all the veggies in it. Such pretty photos. Thanks for sharing this!

      Donna on Feb 10, 2009 @ 3:47 am Reply
    22. 22

      Oh Kay!
      I totally understand your feeling about the “which packet” question! The first time I made cinnamon rolls for my husband, he said “these are sooooo good, it’s like you bought them from the store.” It was a long while before I made homemade cinnamon rolls again, even though I was making all our bread from scratch then…

      Kat on Feb 10, 2009 @ 6:12 am Reply
    23. 23

      This look so delicious… all the veggies….. mmmmm…. can’t wait to try it!
      I have never had leeks before… yum!

      Hugs.. Amy

      Amy@ Joy of my Heart on Feb 10, 2009 @ 6:54 am Reply
    24. 24

      Kay, this looks terrific! We had something very similar but without the leeks and with different seasonings I think. Your pictures are, as always, beautiful, and I can’t wait to try this!

      ChefBliss on Feb 10, 2009 @ 7:10 am Reply
    25. 25

      THIS IS MY COMFORT FOOD. I ADD THE MACARONI UNCOOKED AND ADD STOCK (CHICKEN, BEEF OR VEG.) TO PAN AND STIR. THEN I COVER AND PUT IT IN A 400 DEGREE OVEN FOR THIRTY MINUTES, COVERED. THEN I REMOVE LID AND COVER WITH CHEESE, RETURN TO OVEN AND MELT AND SLIGHTLY BROWN CHEESE. TRY IT.
      THANKS FOR THE RECIPES. RAY

      RAY CEARLEY on Feb 10, 2009 @ 5:11 pm Reply

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