Macaroni au Gratin

macaroni au gratinWhen we talk of comfort foods, my definition stands at “the creamier & cheesier the better’. Macaroni au gratin is one amazing dish in that department. DSB brings a lighter version of this classic dish where you get the flavors of the comfort dish along with loads of veggie nutrition.

I had been thinking of making the classic ‘ Mac and Cheese’ for sometime now. We usually make pastas at home in various versions using red sauce and white sauce, sometimes with vegetables and sometimes just plain. Indians usually like their food spicy and i tend to indianize my versions with some masalas. This time, i really wanted to just follow the recipe and make a typical Mac and Cheese. When i referred a few recipes for the same, i realized that it calls for a whole lot of cheese (should have guessed from the Cheese in ‘Mac and Cheese’ :P). Somehow i was not convinced to go that route.

Being a food blogger is fun but to keep calories at bay is tough when you have to experiment with recipes couples of times to get them right and desirable for you. So, most of my recipes have that consideration. Of course this is not to mock me for my indulgences and sweet cravings (which happens once in a while) coz we all agree we need some ! 🙂

This Divine Spice Box’s recipe starts with Macaroni prepared with loads of vegetables. We create the Arrabbiata sauce (also known as the red sauce) and Mornay sauce (also known as the white sauce). Mix all of them together… making the macaroni creamy, gooey almost dreamy. Top it up with some cheese, pop it in the oven and Voila… u got urself a Macaroni au Gratin treat !


Macaroni au gratin

  • Servings: 4-5
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macaroni au gratinRecipe

This recipe has 3 components

  • Macaroni, Vegetables and Cheese
  • Arrabbiata Sauce (Red Sauce)
  • Mornay Sauce (White Sauce)

Arrabbiata Sauce

  • 2 tomatoes – skin peeled and roughly chopped (to peel the skin, soak the tomatoes in boiling water for 1/2 minute. Remove from water. The tomato skin will peel easily)
  • 2 tsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped/minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil- finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Mornay Sauce – Adding a twist by making a mushroom flavored sauce

  • 2 tsp butter – Melted
  • 1/2 cups Mushrooms – roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp All purpose flour
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup (about 50 gms) grated cheese (Cheddar or Parmesan)

Macaroni, Vegetables and Cheese

  • 1 1/2 cup Macaroni – dried (Macaroni like any other pasta doubles up in volume upon cooking)
  • Vegetables of your choice (each 1/2 cup) – Bell peppers , carrots, peas, broccoli, aubergine
  • 1 large onion – cut lengthwise
  • 1 potato – cut lengthwise and steamed (optional)
  • Couple of Olives ( i used black) – pitted and cut into slivers
  • 2 tsp Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 tsp dry Oregano
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup (about 50 gms. Can use lesser quantity of cheese) grated cheese (Cheddar or Parmesan)


We will start with Macaroni & Vegetables.

Macaroni & Vegetables

  1. In a big pot, Boil enough water to cook the macaroni in. When the water starts to boil, add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of oil and then add macaroni to cook.
  2. Cook for about 10 minutes while stirring often to avoid the macaroni. from sticking to the base of the pot. When the macaroni is half cooked, drain the water and add 1 tsp of oil in the macaroni to keep it from sticking. We have intentionally half cooked the macaroni as it will cook completely upon baking.
  3. Now take a pan. Add oil and put on medium heat. Add the onions & garlic. Fry till they start caramelizing and become golden brown.
  4. Now add the vegetables, salt and pepper and stir fry on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Remove and keep aside.
  5. Add the stir fried vegetables in the bowl with the macaroni and mix gently. Keep aside.

Now we will prepare the Arrabbiata sauce and Mornay sauce

Arrabbiata Sauce

  1. In a saucepan take Olive oil and put to medium flame. To this, add garlic and paprika. Cook till the garlic is golden brown (garlic will leave a very nice aroma).
  2. Now add the chopped tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer and cook on low place for about 10 minutes.
  3. Arrabbiata sauce is ready. Keep aside.

Mornay Sauce

  1. In a saucepan, take butter and melt on low flame.
  2. Add Mushroom to the saucepan and stir fry for about 2 minutes.
  3. Now in a small bowl, mix corn starch and all purpose flour with 1/4 cup water. Add this to the saucepan.
  4. Now add the milk and 3/4 cup water. Bring to boil. Simmer.
  5. Add the grated cheese to the saucepan and stir well till a homogenous mixture is achieved. The cornstarch and All purpose flour will help in thickening of the sauce at this moment
  6. Add salt and pepper. Mix well. remove from flame and keep Aside.

For Baking

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Take a big bowl to mix the various components. Take the macaroni with vegetables first. To this add the Arrabbiata sauce and mix gently till the sauce is evenly mixed with the macaroni.
  3. Now for the Mornay sauce, you can either mix the sauce with the macaroni or can create layers (as in case of Lasagnas). I have tried both the versions and personally i liked the one with ‘all mixed together’ version.
  4. Take a ceramic/ glass dish for baking the macaroni au gratin. Grease with a knob of butter. To this add the macaroni mixture (or create layers as per preference).
  5. Sprinkle grated cheese generously on top of this mixture. Sprinkle dry oregano and pepper on top and bake for around 20 minutes till the cheese is nicely melted and forms a browned crust. Remove from oven.
  6. let it stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

I could not resist having a few spoons of the macaroni before i popped it in the oven 😛 Now thats some indulgence, won’t u say !

The kitchen was filled with some very amazing aromas and the temptations kept growing.It did take me a while to create all the components and bring the dish together but trust me, this dish is so good that you won’t mind spending that kind of time in cooking again and again.

Waiting for the cheese to melt and form the golden brown crust was the toughest deal .. this Macaroni au Gratin is that delicious !!

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  1. looks mouth watering..!!

  2. Pingback: Recipes | Divine Spice Box

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