A simple, yet direct, request was sent to me by reader, Pam: “Please send recipe for Armenian macaroni with meat, done in oven.”Before I could send Pam a recipe, I emailed her asking for a better description of the dish. I thought she might have been referring to manti - the tiny boat-shaped dough with ground meat filling - that's baked in the oven.
Alas, no.I gave this some more thought and suggested the Greek recipe Pastitsio - pasta, meat, tomato, topped with bechamel sauce, then oven-baked.
Again, no.Pam said the recipe she was seeking was made with spaghetti, meat, tomato. All together in oven.
I told her I’d see if there was anything else I could find, although I really didn't know of a specifically Armenian recipe for spaghetti, meat and tomato baked in the oven.After researching, I sent Pam this message: “I found a recipe in my copy of Rose Baboian's Armenian-American Cookbook that might be what you're looking for. Please take a look and see if I'm getting close.”
After reading the recipe (see below), Pam wrote: “Yes, I think that's it! Thank you so much! Can't wait to try it!”I was going to post the recipe after Pam made it so I could include her evaluation, but she’s in Armenia right now.
So while I await her return, I figured I’d make it for dinner. We hope to hear from Pam later on.
My version was a bit different from the original. The changes I made are listed below Rose Baboian’s recipe.
|The Armenian Kitchen's version of Macaroni with Fried Meat|
(Baked) Macaroni with Fried Meat, from Rose Baboian’s ‘Armenian-American Cookbook’(Dabgadz Misov Macaron)
Yields: 4 servings
Sauté: ½ lb. ground meat (lamb or beef) in ¼ cup butter or margarine for 5 minutes. Stir constantly.Add: ¼ cup (1small) finely chopped onion. Continue browning 5 to 8 minutes more.
Mix in:¼ cup finely chopped green pepper
2/3 cup finely chopped canned tomatoes
6 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. water
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. allspice
1 clove finely chopped garlic, optional
1/8 tsp. Aintab red pepper (or paprika mixed with a little cayenne pepper)
¾ tsp. salt
Bring to a Boil, then Simmer about 5 minutes.Boil: 3 quarts water with 1 ½ Tbsp. salt.
Add: ½ lb. macaroni of your choice.Cook: according to package directions; Drain.
Mix together: with meat mixture.Spread: into a 9”x9” baking pan.
Bake: at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes. Stir once or twice during baking. Serve hot.
I omitted the butter in the meat-cooking step. Any excess fat was drained from the skillet.
I used: ½ cup diced red peppers, 1 cup diced tomatoes with liquid, 3 Tbsp. tomato paste, about ½ cup water (or more to make it more sauce-like), farfalle (bow-tie) pasta, and increased the seasonings (except the salt) according to our taste.Shhh: I secretly added a splash of Marsala wine to the sauce! J
Plain yogurt was served on the side.Our evaluation: It reminded us of Manti in casserole form. Pretty good, really, and very easy to prepare!