Hey guys! So, I know most of you are probably elbow deep in a turkey right about now and could not care less about my classed-up trash food effort. But after the Thanksgiving dust has settled and you’re staring down the barrel of the holiday season, you’re going to want this Beemster Beefaroni recipe. Scratch that. You’re going to need it.
When most people think about the holidays, their minds gravitate towards turkey, prime rib, or mushroom wellington. It’s easy to fixate on the main event because, frankly, it looms large. But what we tend to forget about is all the days that lead up to Christmas. And, if your family is anything like mine, your relatives are probably going to arrive days before the 25th. And people are quite insistent on being fed daily. In other words, there are a lot of big meals to get through before you even defrost that turkey. That’s where this Beemster Beefaroni comes in.
When you want to feed a lot of opinionated relatives, crowd-pleasing meals are key. And when you want to make crowd-pleasing meals, it’s best to let nostalgia drive. Enter Beefaroni. Yes, the thick condensed canned stuff with rapidly disintegrating macaroni. Its main selling feature was the convenience, it’s sodium levels were through the roof and, if you grew up in the 90s, it was lunch. Was it good? Not in the traditional sense. Did we like it? Oh heck, yes!
Okay, so now that I’ve grown up and given my palette a stern talking to, I, of course, know that Beefaroni is not a good move health or flavor-wise. But if you boil beefaroni down to its basic components, there’s nothing to suggest that it couldn’t be delicious. I mean, it’s hard to argue with a tomato cheese sauce, ground beef and pasta. Simple, soul-warming stuff. So, dressing up beefaroni was more a case of slowing it down, making all of its attributes, well, attributes again. This meant a homemade cheese sauce, perfectly seasoned ground beef and a good quality marinara.
Now, because you read this blog, you must be smart. And because you’re smart, you no doubt have noticed that this Beemster Beefaroni doesn’t have any macaroni in it. This realization naturally brings you to the next question, which sounds a little existential: Is a beefaroni without macaroni still a beefaroni? It makes sense, without the macaroni where does the “aroni” come from?
In the end, I agree that this Beemster Beefaroni is likely not a beefaroni at all, but do I care about pasta-naming semantics. Not a lot, no. I used gemelli instead and I’m not sorry. I like the bite of gemelli and I needed a hearty noodle to stand up to an overly hearty sauce. Fond childhood memories aside, I’ve never been particularly fond of macaroni. It’s a fine noodle, I guess, but it doesn’t really speak to me. Gemelli speaks to me as much as one can expect a pasta shape to, so it made it into the dish. And still, I called this dish beefaroni because I’m rebellious like that.
Another reason to love this Beemster Beefaroni? It makes good use of any odds and ends that you may have lurking in your kitchen. Like a little bit of leftover marinara, for instance. This is very beneficial to people like me because you see, I am a food hoarder.
My freezers (yes, I have two) are lined with all sorts of treasures. My household consists of two people and a cat but that does not deter me from making double batches of just about everything. A lot of this is due to the ginormous packages of food my grocery store stocks but also, I’m a maniac. I have a lot of anxiety about making it through something like a bale of fresh basil or an excessive can of pumpkin puree. I hate food waste. In truth, this entire recipe was an attempt to save a half batch of marinara from freezer burn.
So, whether you’re hosting your family for the holidays or you’re rolling up your sleeves in someone else’s kitchen to help, it never hurts to a crowd-pleasing recipe in your back pocket. And if it makes good use of leftovers, so much the better. This Beemster Beefaroni with Russian Kale Micro Greens is a winner on both counts.
- 225g (8oz) uncooked gemelli pasta or macaroni
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cup Beemster cheese, shredded
- 1 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 cup simple marinara or prepared tomato sauce
- Russian Kale micro greens for sprinkling.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse the pasta, then return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with a little olive oil and set aside until ready to use.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Cook the butter until frothy and lightly browned. Whisk in the flour to form a roux. Cook the roux until it smells slightly caramelized.
- Whisk the wine into the roux until fully integrated. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the spoon, about 5 minutes.
- Add the Beemster to the pot and stir until the cheese melts into the sauce. Stir in 3/4 teaspoons of the salt, the Dijon mustard and the Worcestershire sauce. Cover the sauce and remove from the heat. Set aside until ready to use.
- In a large cast iron skillet heat a quarter-sized amount of olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef, the remaining salt, fennel seed and red pepper flakes to the pan. Saute until the beef is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.
- Pour the Beemster cheese sauce over the meat and stir in the marinara and the cooked pasta. Turn the heat to low and cook until all components are heated through, about 2 minutes.
- Serve immediately topped with Russian kale micro greens.