Yeesh, what a long and winding road it’s been over the last day. On Thursday (yesterday) I stayed home to look after one of the chillins, which made sense because I had and have a nasty head cold. Okay, so Senior Biggles is home, what should he do? Cook.
This sounded like a perfect day to try something out of Dana Crumb & Shery Cohen’s Cookbook. And I have to say, some of the recipes are a bit dated, but the content is right there. From diet advice to offering really nice vegetarian alternatives to the main recipe, very thoughtful.
OH crap, who am I trying to kid, it’s just a really cool book by a really cool group of people and the pictures are fun to look at. That being said, I wanted to try, “Robert Crumb’s Favorite Macaroni Casserole.”
It was about at this point that my one last photo flood bulb popped and had to make do with a 40 watt regular bulb, ick. So, as you can probably see, some of the colors here will be off a tad or a mile.
Here’s the recipe as it sits in the book:
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef or chuck
1 28 oz. can stewed tomatoes
1 28 oz. can tomato puree
or 12 oz. can tomato paste
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. sweet basil
2 tsp. celery seed
2 cups grated cheese (3/4 lb.)
3 cups cooked macaroni
Brown meat in skillet with onion and add all the tomato and spices. Heat to simmer. Meanwhile, boil macaroni in salted water until tender. Drain macaroni and in your baking dish (about 4 qt. capacity) layer macaroni and sauce and cheese and, topping with a layer of sauce and cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven until cheese is brown.
Yah know, I wanted so badly to add more ingredients to this. Such as garlic. And some salt. And some fresh basil. And so on. It took every thing I had to hold back and let the recipe be. I kept attempting to invision Crumb preparing and eating this dish, then I didn’t want to see that in my mind and moved on.
The spices, especially the celery seed needed to be pounded a bit. see above.
Lordy man, just dump in the ground meat and brown about halfway through. Add onion & spices.
Says in there it serves 8, believe it.
I simmered this sauce about 25 minutes or so. Perfection.
Also got large pot of water going for the macaroni. Cooked, not all the way. Had some tooth to it, ya know? It’ll finish cooking in the oven. Speaking of which, turn that oven on to about 350 with the rack on the bottom. Or in the middle position if you like yer toppings extra crispy. I don’t care, that’s up to you. I put mines on the bottom, just a little crispy.
Once your sauce is done, turn off fire. Grate yer cheese and drain yer pasta. You, are, ready. Get a large spoon and put in a layer of the pasta. Then some sauce to cover, maybe more meat than sauce this time. Save the runny part of the sauce for the top so it travels down through.
Pasta, sauce, cheese, pasta, sauce, cheese.
At this point I’m thinking this dish couldn’t possibly be any plainerer and just wanting to get it done so I can sit down.
Finish top with last of the sauce & cheese. AAAA, couldn’t stand it. I found some nice parmesan cheese and did that on the top, sorry Robert.
350 for about 50 minutes to an hour on the bottom rack gave me what I thought I needed.
Let sit for 15 minutes to things can congeal a bit.
Ya know, this didn’t turn out nearly as plain as I thought it was going to be. Sure I could have added things, but it wasn’t necessary. This was a really good casserole and I found myself nibbling at it for 45 minutes or more, after 2 helpings.
Not only that, Z liked it so much he wanted me to cook it more often. This I can do. Thank you Robert Crumb for sharing this recipe with us today.