Macaroni bolognese au gratin

I love a traditional lasagne but sometimes I like to ring the changes with this tasty alternative. Layers of rich meat sauce and creamy macaroni topped with a Parmesan and sourdough crumb and served with a green salad on the side, it’s a perfect family supper dish. If you’ve already got your favourite meat sauce in the freezer, it’s super-quick to make.

macaroni bolognese

  • 750g minced beef
  • 1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 red or green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • A pinch of chilli flakes
  • A pinch of oregano
  • 1 tbsp creme fraiche or double cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsps milk
  • 200g macaroni – cooked al dente
  • Large slice of sourdough or other good quality bread blitzed into rough crumbs with 50g of Parmesan

To make…

  • First, make the meat sauce. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions, celery, garlic and carrot and cook for about 20 minutes until soft and golden. Add the meat and cook until lightly browned. Add the leek and pepper, cook through for another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, milk, vinegar, oregano, chilli and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and then turn down the heat to low. Cook for an hour until the sauce is rich and thick. Taste and add more seasoning if preferred.
  • Cook the macaroni until al dente – usually takes about 10 minutes. Drain and mix with the creme fraiche or cream, plenty of black pepper and a little extra virgin olive oil.
  • Whizz the Parmesan into crumbs in a food processor (or use a coarse grater) and then add the bread torn into smaller pieces.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  • To assemble, lightly butter the gratin dish and cover the bottom with a layer of meat sauce. Next add the layer of macaroni and top that the remaining meat sauce. Scatter the sourdough and Parmesan crumb evenly over the top.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.

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About Janet Davies @pigeoncottage

Food lover, author, cook!
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