One of my first memories growing up must be my grandma’s cooking, the smells, radio playing quietly in the background and her smiling at me. Food has always been such a happy subject in our family, something to looking forward to and I will always thank my grandma for that. One of the first recipes I learned from her is famous Finnish pasta bake called Makaroonilaatikko, in English this dish is called macaroni casserole.
Makaroonilaatikko is still to this day a very popular dish in Finland. It’s a pasta bake originally made with macaroni pasta, beef mince, eggs and cream or milk depending on what you might have in the fridge that day. This dish is really heavy, so grandma always used to cut me few slices of cucumber as a side dish, her idea of a salad haha! And of course you would drizzle ketchup all over….
I wanted to take on the challenge to replace the meat and dairy, and make it as delicious as I remember from my childhood. Creating similar flavours, saltines and the right texture. Food is not just about the flavour, its colours and textures too.
You will need a large tray for this dish and a fan oven.
350 g Soya Protein
1 White Onion
8 Sun-dried Tomatoes
400 – 500 g Tomato Passata
1 tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar
Handful of Fresh Basil
Pinch of Black Pepper and Salt
OTHER INGREDIENTS FOR MAKAROONILAATIKKO
200g Vegan cheese
250ml Single Soya Cream
Half a cup of Water
Start by adding some olive oil into your baking dish, you can also use any butter substitute as this is to prevent Makaroonilaatikko sticking once it’s cooked. I would add little bit of oil into a kitchen towel to spread it around, nice and easy.
Cook the diced onion until brown, then add garlic, your soya protein and other sauce ingredients together in a saucepan.
Boil your pasta al dente , this is not crucial as you will bake the pasta as well later on, just how I prefer to do it. Make sure you don’t over cook your pasta.
Once your sauce has the right flavour and pasta is ready, place both of them into your large baking tray and mix well together. Add soya cream, water and vegan cheese into the mix.
Slice tomatoes on top of your dish to add flavour and breadcrumbs to give the needed crispness. If you have any vegan cheese left, sprinkle the rest on top of your dish.
Bake your pasta bake at 175 Celsius for 30 minutes. You will see the top turning golden brown and this is a sign that is ready to take out. Let it cool down before serving.
PS. Don’t forget the cucumber!