Especialidades para Navidad, Fin de Año y Día de Reyes (1946) – Macarones a la Crema / Macaroni with Cream
by Ellen Lutz
Velazquez de Leon, Josefina. Especialidades para Navidad, Fin de Año y Día de Reyes. Mexico, D.F.: Academia de Cocina, 1946. [TX739.2.C45 V45 1946]
9. Macarones a la Crema (17-18)
250 gramos de macarrón; 100 gramos de jamón cocido; 100 gramos de mantequilla; 100 gramos de queso Amarillo; 1/8 litro de crema; 2 cebollas; 400 gramos de jitomate; 1 cucharada de perejil picado; 2 pimientos morrones; 1 yema de huevo cocido; 1 cucharada de chícharos cocidos; Yerbas de olor, sal, y pimiento.
Manera de Hacerse:
El macarrón se pone a cocer en dos litros de agua hirviendo con una cebolla, yerbas de olor, sal y pimiento, ya cocido se lava y escurre bien; en un platón refractario Redondo untado de mantequilla, se pone una capa del macarrón, otra de la salsa de queso rallado y trocitos de mantequilla, así hasta terminar, se mete al horno a que dore y al sacarlo ya para servirse se le forma una flor de Noche Buena con tiritas de pimiento morrón, en el centro se le pone la yema cocida pasada por un colador fino y sobre la yema, se ponen los chícharos cocidos.
Manera de hacer la salsa:
En la mitad de la mantequilla, se fríe una cebolla finamente picada, se le agrega el jamón cortado en cuadritos cuando empieza a dorar, se agrega el jitomate asado, molido y colado, el perejil picado, sal y pimiento, se deja hervir y cuando espesa se retira del fuego, se le agrega la crema y se pone con los macarrones.
9. Macaroni with cream (17-18)
250 grams macaroni; 100 grams cooked ham; 100 grams butter; 100 grams yellow cheese; 1/8 liter of cream; 2 onions; 400 grams of red tomatoes; 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley; two red bell peppers; 1 boiled egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of cooked peas; yerbas de olor, salt, and pepper.
Note: Yerbas de Olor refers to a fragrant herb mix, such as bay leaf, marjoram, rosemary, and thyme)
Manner of Preparation:
Cook the macaroni in two liters of boiling water with one onion, fragrant herbs (bay leaf, marjoram, rosemary, thyme), salt and pepper. When cooked, rinse and drain well. In a round, buttered baking dish put a layer of macaroni, another of shredded cheese sauce and bits of butter, and so on till you run out of ingredients. Place in the oven to brown. To serve, use strips of bell pepper to form a poinsettia flower on top and in the center place the egg yolk passed through a fine sieve, and over the egg yolk, arrange the cooked peas.
Manner of preparation for the sauce:
In half the butter, fry one onion (finely chopped), add the ham (chopped into pieces) till they begin to brown. Add the tomatoes (roasted, ground, and strained), the chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. Allow to simmer till thick and then remove from the heat. Add the cream and layer with the macaroni.
In the Kitchen:
I knew that my family would have ham leftover from our Christmas Eve dinner, so I proposed making this recipe to use some of it. My parents were all for it, and we decided to make a double batch so that they could freeze some.
I started by assembling the ingredients. To save some time and effort, I decided to use canned diced tomatoes instead of roasting, grinding and straining raw tomatoes. We had served mixed vegetables earlier in the week, so since I only needed 1 tablespoon of cooked peas for garnish, I had picked some out to set aside for this recipe.
The only fragrant herb from the list that my parents had in their pantry that was mentioned in the recipe was rosemary, so I just used it to cook with the macaroni and onion. I also decided to cook the onion in the skillet for a bit before I added the ham, which was already cooked. I did use a bit more ham than the recipe called for, as the original amount did not look like enough.
After getting everything cooked, I was ready to start layering in my casserole dish.
The recipe did not specify how many layers to make, so I only made two.
There were also no details about oven temperature and time to cook, so I referred to my mom’s Betty Crocker cookbook from the 1960s. The macaroni recipes in it said to use a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, so that’s what I did.
After it came out, I garnished as suggested. The red peppers my parents had were rather small, so my flower petals were not very big. I realized after I had arranged them that I should have been more strategic in how I placed them so that they looked more like poinsettia petals. It was a bit of a challenge to get the egg yolk through the very fine sieve and again had a late realization that I should not have done that directly over the casserole so that I would have had more control over where it went.
The result was a big hit! Normally, I use a lot of cheese in my macaroni, but to stay true to the recipe, I stuck to the amount called for. I selected extra sharp cheddar to maximize the cheesy flavor, but if I make this again, I would use more cheese and maybe a bit more cream, as I also like my casseroles not as dry as this ended up. This was a bit of work to put together, but it is a nice holiday dish and a tasty twist on a classic.