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.
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
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika powder
2 tsp sugar
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!
– Kayotic Kitchen Recipe Card –
Click here for printable size.