We've had a whirlwind week in the Nibbles household. Both husband and son were ill with viral infections and there were loads of work commitments on for me. To top it all off, the heating element in our stove went out and we've since been living off of quick dinners. But through setbacks come some of the best things in life. That is exactly how this recipe was born.
On the day I made it, we were meant to be having lasagna. Needing a quick replacement, I threw this together. You could call this a hamburger helper copycat, except this has so much more flavor and it tastes like proper food. I've always found that Hamburger Helper somehow always tastes like balmy nights in the dorms at college instead of something I'd want to present to my family.
Call it what you wish. It's just delicious and easy and ready in under 20 minutes. And is a perfect antidote to spaghetti without all the saucy heaviness.
For the macaroni bolognese
1 cup mixed frozen mushrooms
1 cup shredded cheese
2 tsp tarragon
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 tsp oregano
300g lean pork mince
400g uncooked macaroni noodles
Salt and Pepper
All right, let's cook:
Toss the frozen mushrooms in a saute pan over medium heat and allow to unthaw. Meanwhile, put some water on to boil to cook the macaroni. Once the mushrooms have begun re-absorbing their liquid, sprinkle in some tarragon. If the pan is getting too dry, drizzle in some sunflower oil. Once cooked, remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
Add more oil if necessary and brown the mince, seasoning it with a little salt and pepper, the garlic and oregano. Cook until brown, about 4 minutes. By this time, your macaroni should be ready. It needs to be slightly underdone as it will continue cooking in the skillet. Strain your macaroni, reserving some of the starchy cooking water.
Tumble the mushrooms back into the saute pan with the mince and herbs. Toss the macaroni in as well and stir to combine. Spoon over the passata, a little more salt and pepper and a bit more sunflower oil if the pan is too dry. Don't be heavy-handed with the oil. Sprinkle over half the cheese and stir well.
All the mix to cook and bubble away for about 5 minutes or until the macaroni around the edges starts to go crispy and form a nice crust. Sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and leave for a further 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.