Trinidadian Macaroni Pie
Macaroni pie is a firmer, highly spiced version of mac and cheese. Quintessential Trinidadian seasonings like thyme and Scotch bonnet pepper give this dish a distinctive taste, while a little less liquid mixed with an egg creates a solid, sliceable texture. A Trini staple for large family gatherings, it’s the perfect addition to a holiday table. And if there are any leftovers, they keep well. Feel free to use your favorite Cheddar, but if you’re able to find New Zealand Cheddar (or “Trinidad cheese” as it’s called on the island), don’t pass it up.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1tablespoon butter, plus more for greasing the dish
- 8ounces sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (2 cups)
- 8ounces whole-milk mozzarella, coarsely grated (2 cups)
- 2 ½cups evaporated milk (from 1 1/2 12-ounce cans)
- 1large egg, whisked
- 2tablespoons tomato paste
- 2teaspoons garlic powder
- 2teaspoons onion powder
- 2teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- ½Scotch bonnet pepper, finely minced, seeded for less heat
- Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
- 1pound dried macaroni
Step 1Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch (3-quart) baking dish with butter.
Step 2In a large bowl, mix the Cheddar and mozzarella, and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the evaporated milk, egg, tomato paste, garlic and onion powders, mustard, thyme, Scotch bonnet pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and a generous pinch of black pepper until very well blended.
Step 3Cook macaroni in boiling salted water according to the package directions for al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Stir in the tablespoon of butter until melted, then add half the cheese and stir until it’s fully combined and starting to melt. Stir in the milk mixture until the pasta is evenly coated. Pour the pasta into the buttered dish, spread it evenly and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
Step 4Bake until the top is bubbling and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
Step 5Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes to help it firm up. The dish can be made up to a day in advance, tightly covered with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerated, or cut into serving sizes, wrapped tightly and frozen. Reheat covered with foil in a 350-degree oven or in a covered skillet on the stove.