Filipino Toaster Oven Baked Macaroni
How to Make Baked Macaroni in a Toaster Oven
I've been craving baked macaroni for days now. Fortunately, I was able to convince my husband to buy the ingredients I need for my "Toaster Oven Baked Macaroni." No, it's not the popular American mac and cheese. It's a Filipino party favorite—a pasta dish made with elbow macaroni that's tossed in meaty, tomato-based sauce and topped with creamy, cheesy white sauce. Yum!
By the way, since I don't have an oven, I used an oven toaster oven to "bake" this dish. It comes out just as well!
- 250 grams elbow macaroni
- Quickmelt cheese (for the topping)
For the Tomato Meat Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil or butter
- 1/4 kilogram ground beef
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, cubed
- 1 small (198-gram) can button mushrooms, sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup Sweet Style Spaghetti Sauce (or tomato sauce of your choice)
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1/4 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup water
- 1 beef bouillon cube
For the White Sauce (Mornay Sauce):
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup (250-millilitre tetra pack) fresh milk
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 beef bouillon cube
Step 1: Cook Macaroni
Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Note: If you are using a real oven, undercook the pasta for about 5 minutes. It will have enough time to get fully cooked when you bake it later in the oven. As for me, since I used a toaster oven, I boiled it for only 8 minutes to become "al dente" and not soggy. Who likes soggy pasta anyway? Well, I don't!
Step 2: Make Tomato Meat Sauce
- In a hot cooking pot, sauté garlic in cooking oil or butter, add onion then ground beef, basil leaves, oregano leaves and beef cube. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Then, throw in the mushrooms and bell peppers. Cook for at least 3 minutes more.
- Add water. Let it boil for 5 minutes, then add tomato paste and tomato sauce. Add sugar, salt, pepper. Stir well and cover the pot. Let it simmer while stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until it reduce into a thick consistency.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 3: Make White Sauce (Mornay Sauce)
- In a bowl, combine water, milk, crushed beef cube, pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Set aside.
- Melt butter over low heat in a non-stick saucepan. Stir in flour until well incorporated and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn it. It should be yellowish, NOT brownish!
- Now, slowly add the milk/water mixture into the flour/butter mixture while stirring. Continue to stir until it turns thick and creamy.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 4: Assemble and Bake
- Toss the cooked pasta into the tomato meat sauce until every piece is well-coated.
- On a baking pan (in my case, I used 2 small rectangular aluminum trays), arrange a layer of elbow macaroni with meat sauce, cover with white sauce, and then top with grated cheese. Repeat to make two layers. If you're using a deeper dish, you can go ahead and make three layers.
- Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes (oven) or 15 minutes (turbo) or 4 to 6 minutes (toaster oven).
- Let it set for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Best served with garlic bread on the side.
To make it meatier, you can add smoked meat like bacon, pepperoni, or smoked ham! Or, if you want a healthy version, use canned tuna instead of ground beef. You can even add some carrots or spinach!