Catalan Macaronis

My mother-in-law is from Barcelona and at every family gathering she prepares Catalan Macaronis, a meaty pasta dish. The first time I saw the bubbling hot cheesy dish, I have to admit, I thought “another meat and pasta dish,” with very little enthusiasm. Although I love love love pasta, I grew up eating a lot of Italian dishes.  My husband, however, would not stop raving about this dish. And he was right – Catalan Macaronis are unlike any other meat and pasta dish I’ve had. What makes this so different, and delicious, is the combination of extremely flavorful wild porcini mushrooms, prosciutto, and soppressata.

I finally decided to prepare macaronis, which was a bit intimidating being my husband’s favorite dish. Thankfully they are not too complicated and my husband approved by eating 2 large bowls! As I’m sure is evident from the picture, this is not a “light” dish in any way. If you’re starting your Thanksgiving and other holiday recipe search, consider adding this to your list. It also makes a great indulgent weekend meal paired with a green salad and red wine … perhaps as a carb reload after an active weekend 🙂

Recipe Notes:

Soppressata is a cured dried salami and you can usually find it in the specialty sausage/cheese section of your grocer. I don’t recommend putting any additional salt in this recipe – the meat provides all the seasoning you’ll need.

Dried wild porcini mushrooms are located in the produce section of most grocers, usually in a clear plastic package.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 oz. dried wild porcini mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes in tomato juice
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/3 pound prosciutto, diced
  • 1/3 pound soppressata, diced
  • 16 oz. package of penne pasta
  • 8 oz. (2 cups) Shredded Italian Blend cheese

Instructions

Reconstitute your mushrooms by bringing water to a boil, removing from heat and soaking the mushrooms in the water for about 5 minutes until soft. Drain and dice the mushrooms.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion until tender, about 5 minutes, on medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and about 1/4 cup of the tomatoes, cook a few more minutes until the tomato juice is reduced. Season with fresh cracked pepper.

Add the remainder of the tomatoes and the prosciutto and soppressata to the skillet. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.

While the tomato/meat mixture simmers, cook and drain the pasta. Remove the skillet from the heat and combine the tomato/meat mixture with the pasta, stir to combine.

Prepare a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray and add the pasta. Cover with the shredded cheese. Broil until cheese is browned, about 10 minutes. You can also prepare the dish the day before and to reheat, bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then broil to get the cheese nice and browned.

Serves: 8-10

Recipe source: Family recipe

Time: ~40 minutes

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