Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mami Emma's Macaroni (Lightened up)

Two Cuban Grandmothers.  Decades of competition.  Who wins the cooking contest?  Mama Fina's food or Mami Emma's food?  I'll never tell!

So here is a little dish that we just call "Macaroni" in my family.  This is my Abuela Emma's recipe.  Well, almost.  I've lightened it up a little by adding more tomato sauce and much less butter.  Seriously, this is one your family will LOVE.

(Serves 6)

1 ham steak, diced (the single 1/2 inch slice pre-packaged kind works just fine)
1 link of chorizo sausage, diced (you can also substitute with pepperoni)
1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
15 oz. can of tomato sauce
16 oz. box of penne pasta
8 oz. low moisture, skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tbsp. of butter
1 bay leaf

(Nutrition facts: 457 cal., 17.4 g fat, 49g carbs, 26g protein, 1.6g fiber)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sized pot, boil water and cook penne according to the package directions.  You will want your pasta al dente as it will continue to cook a little in the oven later.  When it is done, drain your pasta and set it aside.

While the pasta is cooking, over medium heat, cook the chorizo in a small skillet (about 3-4 minutes).  Line a few paper towels over a plate and pour the chorizo over it.  You want to remove as much of the fat as possible. Abuela doesn't do this, but again I've lightened this up a little, so I added this step.

In a large saute pan add butter, onions and garlic over medium heat and cook until the onions are a little soft and translucent in color.  Then add 3/4 of the can of tomato sauce and the bay leaf.  Let these flavors combine for a few minutes.

Add diced ham and drained chorizo sausage and cook for about 7 minutes on medium low heat.

While you're waiting for the ham to cook and for all those flavors to combine, this is a good time to shred your mozzarella.  Plus, I just wanted to show off this cool picture of inside my cheese grater.

Once your sauce has simmered, go ahead and mix in your pasta.

Add to a greased 9x13 in. greased casserole dish (I use PAM).  If you find that your pasta is sticking together from sitting out, run a little warm water over it.  It will magically un-stick!  Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. doesn't this look yummy?  Like I wanna go into the fridge and eat some of it right now.  Without even heating it up.  Sigh.  Good thing Stephen took the left-overs for lunch today. Dang! 

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