Macaroni Pie

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Complex

  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

This pie is different from the Neapolitan pasticcio and the one described in Lampedusa’s The Leopard, and much more like the pasta pies of Modena and Bologna, using cream and mushrooms rather than meatballs and tomato sauce. You can, in place of the turkey, use chicken, chicken livers or game.

Ingredients

  • 300 g (10 oz) plain flour
  • 150 g (5 oz) butter, chilled and diced
  • pinch of salt
  • iced water
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons each olive oil and butter
  • 300 g (10 oz) mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 600 mls (1 pint) milk, hot
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs tarragon
  • salt and pepper
  • nutmeg
  • 3 boudin blanc or Italian sausages
  • 500 g (1 lb) macaroni
  • 2 mozzarella cheeses, drained and diced
  • 500 g (1 lb) lightly cooked turkey meat, shredded or diced
  • 200 g (7 oz) can petits pois, drained
  • 75 g (3 oz) Parmesan, grated
  • milk and free-range egg, beaten, or saffron-infused water for glaze (see p. 191)

Method

Rub the flour and butter together to a crumb-like consistency, and stir in the salt and enough water to bind the pastry. Cover with clingfilm, and refrigerate until required.

To make the sauce, fry the shallots and celery in the olive oil and butter until the shallots are translucent. Add the mushrooms and herbs, and cook uncovered until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of flour and gradually blend in the milk until you have a smooth mushroom sauce. Season to taste. Put aside until required.

Heat a frying pan, slice the boudin or squeeze the sausages out of the skins into small balls, and fry them until well browned all over.

Cook the pasta for 2 to 3 minutes less than the time stated on the packet, drain it while still al dente, rinse under cold water, and drain again.

To assemble the pie, roll out two-thirds of the pastry, and line a spring-form cake tin, about 7.5 cm (3 inches) deep and 22-25 cm (9-10 inches) in diameter.

Mix the pasta with about 300 mls (10 oz) of the mushroom sauce, and stir in the peas, mozzarella, turkey and sausage. Spoon into the pastry case, sprinkling with the Parmesan. The pasta should be well moistened with the sauce, as it will absorb more liquid as it cooks. Spoon on the rest of the sauce, sprinkle on more Parmesan, and top with a lid rolled from the remaining pastry.

Cut out pastry decorations for the top. Make a small slit in the pie crust to allow steam to escape. Brush with egg and milk, or saffron-infused water.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 for 10 minutes, and then turn down to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for about 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and transfer to a large serving platter. Add watercress, rocket, wedges of lime and mandarin and pomegranate for a festive appearance. Just before serving, you can pour a drop or two of white truffle oil through the hole in the pastry lid, and its scent will suffuse the whole pie.

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