Ruhlman’s Macaroni & Beef with Cheese
I was scouring the internet for something I could bring to my family’s Easter lunch and that I could also bring for a friend’s FEaster supper a few hours later. When I saw the meaty, cheesy picture of this casserole on Michael Ruhlman’s blog, I knew I’d be making a double batch for Easter. I told my family and friends that I would be bringing a homemade version of hamburger helper.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the finished product, which is a shame because I made two lovely batches (9×11 pyrex) but just plain forgot. The closest thing I have to finished product is the picture above, which was taken with my Blackberry of the leftovers I reheated for lunch at the office. It doesn’t really do the casserole justice, but trust me, it was good. When my cousin came over and saw what I had made, she asked, “Didn’t your mom used to make something like this for family get togethers?”
Turns out, I probably didn’t need Ruhlman’s recipe because its very similar to my mom’s baked pastas, which I can do blindfolded. Nevertheless, I doubled Ruhlman’s recipe, using 4 lbs of ground beef and 1.5 lbs of macaroni (it was rich & meaty so I’d probably go down to 3 lbs for a 2.5x batch next time). This yielded 2-9×11 and one half-sized pyrex which went straight into my freezer for later. I seasoned everything with fish sauce (Ruhlman’s recommendation, which I liked), chili powder, oregano and garlic. Topped off with shredded extra sharp cheddar and mozzarella–yum! To make it even more like mom’s, I would add some black olives next time.