It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just next week, and if you’re anything like me, you’re already starting to prepare by shopping for your Thanksgiving meal ingredients and planning your menu. The great thing is that these days stores like Walmart have all you need for your Thanksgiving preparations ahead of time and even offer a variety of Thanksgiving tips and recipes on their sites. I’m actually going to be sharing a Thanksgiving side dish recipe with you today that is probably not found in many traditional American homes on Thanksgiving. The dish comes from the Caribbean island of Trinidad and is called macaroni pie.
Macaroni pie from Trinidad is a dish I learned about after marrying my husband. It’s much like a baked macaroni and cheese, but the creamy cheese sauce and variance in ingredients truly sets it apart from the baked macaroni and cheese you may be used to. After seeing my mother-in-law cook macaroni pie a few times and seeing how much my husband truly loves his Trinidadian macaroni pie, I was determined to learn how to make it. A few years ago, I succeeded in recreating his beloved Trinidadian macaroni pie recipe and he now asks for me to make macaroni pie occasionally, but definitely every Thanksgiving and on special occasions. I hope you enjoy this simple recipe for Trinidadian macaroni pie and come to love it as much as I have!
Trinidadian Macaroni Pie Recipe
- 1 16 oz box of elbow macaroni pasta
- 2-3 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- evaporated milk
- chicken broth
- pepper (white or black)
- 1 lb grated cheese (We like to mix 8 oz each of cheddar and mozzarella cheese, but you can use just one type of cheese or combine whichever cheeses you prefer. You can also use store-bought pre-shredded cheese if you like.)
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Boil water in a large pot, adding salt and macaroni, once boiling.
- Cook macaroni to package directions (until al dente) and strain under running cold water. This will help stop the pasta from cooking further, so it won’t get too soft. Set macaroni aside.
- Grease a glass baking dish (mine is about [size]) on sides and bottom with a little butter and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt 2-3 Tbsp of butter on low heat. Add flour and mix until well-blended, but do not let it brown.
- Quickly add evaporated milk and chicken broth alternatively, stirring constantly, until a smooth sauce forms. The amount of each will depend on your taste and how much sauce you want to make.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and some of the cheese, however much or little you like.
- Add about half of the cooked macaroni to your greased baking dish in an even layer.
- Pour half of your cheese sauce over the macaroni.
- Layer about half of your grated cheese on top.
- Repeat the layers of macaroni, then cheese sauce, and more grated cheese.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until golden-brown.
My kids have truly embraced their father’s Trinidadian heritage in the form of macaroni pie. It helps that my oldest daughter is a super macaroni and cheese fan, so it wasn’t a far leap for her to enjoy macaroni pie from Trinidad. I must note that macaroni pie is not exclusive to Trinidad as it seems other Caribbean islands have their own versions of a baked macaroni and cheese, some calling it macaroni pie and others not. As with anything, recipes and ingredients vary, and even within Trinidadian households, you’ll find variations in the recipe. Some macaroni pie recipes include eggs, and the creaminess of the cheese sauce is left to the individual’s interpretation. In fact, since I don’t have exact measurements when cooking macaroni pie, each time I make it the consistency of the sauce comes out different, making the macaroni pie creamier sometimes more than others. Either way, my family and particularly my husband, love their macaroni pie and I love that I’m able to bring a traditional Trinidadian food dish to our Thanksgiving meal.
What Thanksgiving side dishes will you be serving this Thanksgiving?
All photos © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™