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Author Notes: My two favourite comfort foods -mac and cheese and Indian- combined in one dish! This makes a great casserole for a weeknight dinner. You can amp up the spices or tone it down, depending on the heat tolerance of your diners... and it's a great way to introduce Indian flavours to children. If you do not have all the spices, try substituting with one tablespoon of your favourite curry powder. —zelda
Serves 4 to 6
- 10 ounces Small pasta (macaroni, tiny shells, ditalini)
- 2 tablespoons Ghee or vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes (no need to peel them)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon each: turmeric, ground cumin, cayenne pepper and ground coriander
- Salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon chick pea flour (besan) or all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup grated cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, gouda - or a mix)
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon melted ghee
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil; salt the water and add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is just al dente. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat the ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sprinkle in the cumin seeds. Let the seeds fry for a few seconds, then add the chopped onions, garlic and ginger. Saute the mixture until golden brown. It is important to develop the flavour at this stage.
- Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until the tomatoes break down. Mash them with your wooden spoon. Add all of the spices and salt, to taste, and cook until fragrant, only one or two minutes.
- Mix in the chick pea flour (or all purpose flour) and cook 1 minute. Turn off the heat. Slowly stir in the milk. Add the cheese and stir until melted and the sauce is homogeneous. Stir in the cooked pasta.
- Transfer the mixture to a flat casserole and smooth the top to even out the dish.
- Mix the panko, melted ghee, garam masala and Parmesan together and sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the casserole bubbles around the edges. Let the casserole sit and rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spicy Recipe