The Big Bang Theory, Pantry Staples and “Beefaroni” Pasta Bake

The Big Bang Theory, Pantry Staples and "Beefaroni" Pasta Bake

The Big Bang Theory, Pantry Staples

and

“Beefaroni” Pasta Bake

The Big Bang Theory, Pantry Staples and "Beefaroni" Pasta Bake

The Big Bang Theory, Pantry Staples and “Beefaroni” Pasta Bake

It can be said that I have very eclectic taste when it comes to television, I am an avid fan of period dramas, comedy, satire and even the odd country-style soap in the form of Heartbeat; my favourite comedy programme has to be The Big Bang Theory, which is an American sit-com and is just, in my humble opinion, hysterically funny and very witty. Now, The Big Bang Theory is very similar to Marmite, you either love it or hate it, there appears to be no middle ground here – you either “get it” or you don’t. When I first saw the programme I wasn’t that impressed, mainly due the fact that Malcolm was rolling around the floor laughing, and I never saw a full episode – it was only when he went away to work that I watched an entire episode and the characters started to “gel” with me, and ever since then I have been a Big Bang Theory fan.

The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory

I won’t bore you with a synopsis of the programme or a blow-by-blow description of the characters, but suffice to say there is a reason that I mention the programme today, and yes, it does have to do with food and a recipe! Basically, for those readers in the know, the connection comes from an episode when Raj thinks he may be deported back to India for outstaying his visa restrictions; as he ponders his fate in the university canteen, he laments about all the things he’ll miss if he goes back home to India and says…..” Oh Beefaroni, I think I will miss you the most”…..So, what is this amazing “beefaroni” that Raj is talking about? Well, it’s a famous tinned pasta product by Chef Boyardee that is basically macaroni cheese with beef! But, it is also a VERY popular family recipe that is made at home too, and is made with five main staple ingredients –  minced beef, onions, passata (or chopped tomatoes), cheese and macaroni. 

The Big Bang Theory, Pantry Staples and "Beefaroni" Pasta Bake

The Big Bang Theory, Pantry Staples and “Beefaroni” Pasta Bake

Beefaroni a fabulous meal to make for the family mid-week, it’s tasty, filling and is very thrifty on the housekeeping budget side too, so it’s a winning recipe on many counts, and I remember eating it when I lived in the States and I loved it as much Raj! So, when I was challenged to come up with something a little different by the Sainsbury’s Live Well For Less website, using the THREE main staples of  by Sainsbury’s Passata , by Sainsbury’s onions and by Sainsbury’s British Beef Mince, this was the recipe I decided to create. It’s NOT “spag bol”, which we were asked NOT to recreate, but it is a pasta bake recipe that is easy to make and uses the three staple products perfectly. Think Macaroni Cheese with a meat and tomato sauce, and that’s what Beefaroni is essentially.

The University Canteen

The University Canteen with Raj, Sheldon and Howard

So, for today’s post, I bring you my Big Bang Theory Beefaroni, which can be made in one large baking dish, or in small casserole dishes, as you can see from my photos, which is perfect for portion control and the children will love their own pot of pasta too! It’s cheap and cheerful and you can freeze it, which means you can make a big (double) batch of this pasta and then freeze half for another time; allow it to defrost at room temperature and then microwave it or cover it with foil (or a casserole lid) and reheat it on the oven. If you are vegetarian, you can use “Quorn mince” for this recipe, which would also be very tasty.

Beefaroni

Beefaroni

That’s it for today, I’ll be back later in the week, I hope you all had a fabulous Easter break, and there’s not that much chocolate left in the house to tempt you! See you soon, Karen 

Disclaimer:  I was sent some supermarket vouchers from Sainsbury’s to participate in this “staples” challenge. 

The Big Bang Theory, Pantry Staples and "Beefaroni" Pasta Bake

The Big Bang Theory, Pantry Staples and “Beefaroni” Pasta Bake

“Beefaroni” Pasta Bake

Serves 4 to 5
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party, Halloween
Region American
By author Karen S Burns-Booth
This American dish is a delicious mixture of minced beef with onions, tomato sauce and grated cheese - a sort of macaroni cheese with a Bolognese style sauce all in one! It's a great way to ring the changes with both recipes and the results are a tasty pasta bake which is made with the minimum of fuss making it the perfect mid-week family meal.

Ingredients

  • 250g macaroni
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and diced (I used by Sainsbury’s onions)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 450g extra lean minced beef (I used by Sainsbury's British Beef Mince)
  • 200g Passata (I used by Sainsbury’s Passata)
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 250g grated Cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Note

This American dish is a delicious mixture of minced beef with onions, tomato sauce and grated cheese - a sort of macaroni cheese with a Bolognese style sauce all in one! It's a great way to ring the changes with both recipes and the results are a tasty pasta bake which is made with the minimum of fuss making it the perfect mid-week family meal.

Directions

Step 1 Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Step 2 Boil the macaroni according to the packet instructions, and then drain it. Add the butter and mix well. Set to one side keeping the lid on.
Step 3 Heat the oil on a large frying pan and then add the onions; cook over a medium heat until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes. Add the minced beef and fry for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the beef is cooked and browned.
Step 4 Add the passata and chopped tomatoes to the beef and mix well. Season to taste and then add the beef and onion mixture to the cooked macaroni and mix it all in.
Step 5 Add three quarters of the grated cheese and the tomato ketchup and adjust seasoning if necessary. Mix well and then spoon the beefaroni into an oven proof baking dish, or small casserole dishes (as seen in my photos), sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until the beefaroni is bubbling hot and the cheese has melted.
Step 6 Serve with salad and crusty bread, or steamed seasonal greens/vegetables.
The Big Bang Theory, Pantry Staples and "Beefaroni" Pasta Bake

“Beefaroni” Pasta Bake

The Big Bang Theory, Pantry Staples and "Beefaroni" Pasta Bake

The Big Bang Theory, Pantry Staples and “Beefaroni” Pasta Bake

 Beefaroni

Beefaroni

 

Comments

  1. Wendy Walker says

    I love The Big Bang too, although Friends will always be my favourite. My son loves mac & cheese so I will be trying this. I am also on the 5:2 diet and cooked your prawn curry which was delicious, can’t wait to try some others.

  2. says

    I’m not a fan of the show but I know I’ll be a fan of this Beefaroni! It looks even more delicious in your mini casserole pots and makes me think of a deconstructed lasagne =)

  3. says

    so would a vego version be called quornaroni :-) I was actually thinking I could maybe do one with nut roast and call it nutroastaroni :-) I went through a phase of watching The Big Bang Theory but I think I stopped because it was being repeated too much and then – as I do from time to time – I went into a phase of only watching tv on stations without commercials. I do love Sheldon. I also love the simplicity of the dish and the inspiration.

  4. says

    I have heard so many people ‘bang on’ (sorry!) about this programme, I reckon I should give it a go. Beefaroni looks great too – I would have to try it without cheese – the bane of my life!

  5. says

    Back in the 70’s when I made lots of this as a cook we called it “Beef, Mac & Tomato” and that version never had cheese. My mom used to make something like this using blue box mac and cheese, beef mince and tomato sauce with seasonings. Some like to call this goulash and there is a bit of confusion about that obviously, since the Hungarian version is nothing like it. But in the U.S., goulash tends to mean a mishmash mixture of something, and in the case of beefaroni recipes will have a mishmash of this or that, depending on what the cook has on hand or prefers. Always very popular with children!

    • says

      I LOVE to hear people’s different stories and names for this recipe Sue and it makes sense that it would be called beef, mac and tomato. Mish mash recipes I am also a fan of too, as well as pasta bakes in general!

    • Shelley says

      Glad you mentioned it as American goulash…this homemade version was a staple in our house growing up…I’m American but now live in Scotland. When my mother was feeling the need to mix it up a little, she would make it without pasta initially and then use the filling to use as ravioli stuffing for homemade ravioli :) and served with extra tomato gravy and Parmesan cheese.
      And yes, mushrooms and peppers is a great addition, with or without the meat. If you’re trying to get a little more veg in your kids, try adding finely diced carrots and courgettes (baby zucchini), pumpkin/squash, etc it. As well as pasta, my Mom would also add tinned tomatoes in the winter and fresh ones in the summer. It’s a very satisfying meal that is great for large families on a tight budget as it can be bulked out well to go a long way. In recent years, I’ve also made with chicken and turkey mince too for a slightly reduced fat content as I’m not a fan of British beef mince.
      And PS, I love TBBT also…hubby is a scientist and says it’s not far wrong, which makes it all the funnier to me! :) And Sheldon’s my favourite character.

      • says

        How interesting to read that this is also called “goulash” once again….a goulash to us is a Hungarian style recipe made with beef, tomatoes and paprika and served with noodles and a dollop of sour cream.

  6. says

    We used to have something very like this growing up (a Florida childhood) and I enjoyed it immensely. I think I was lucky that my Mum was not into tinned foods like Beefaroni, so I have never tried ‘the original’. And we are massive BBT devotees. we will watch the same episodes over and over, laughing as much as the first time. I have never bent hat way about a tv show. Sheldon’s character is just superb. Beefaroni a a comfort food, and BBT is my comfort show!

    • says

      Yes I agree that the tinned version doesn’t ring my bell Kellie! But, this home-made version was extremely tasty and very easy to make. Glad to hear you are all BBT fans too! Karen

  7. says

    My husband is an aerospace engineer and we’ve had–seriously–dozens of people over the years tell us we need to watch The Big Bang Theory but we haven’t gotten around to it yet. I think we’re television commitment-phobes which makes it easier for us to watch shows with only a half dozen episodes per year. Anyway…

    Chef Boyardee was not allowed at my house growing up (seen as being just a step above Spaghetti-Os) but this recipe is actually similar to what my mom always called goulash, which always confused me because it wasn’t anything like the goulash in the Time-Life Foods of the World cookbook. Turns out, according to Wikipedia, that my mom’s goulash is actually American goulash. True comfort food!

  8. says

    I love the Big Bang theory and regularly watch it with my family who think it is hilarious that I am Penny, mannerisms, looks, dating idiots, blonde moments…. and my sister is Amy.

  9. Helen says

    This is so simple to make and really delicious, I have only just one your website nd can’t wait to try other recipes!

  10. says

    Karen, I’ve never seen Big Bang Theory. Must check it out now. This post reminded me of an episode of Seinfeld where Kramer went to a warehouse-type store and bought gigantic cans of something called “Beefarino.” I’m sure it was nothing like your scrummy looking pasta bake!

  11. says

    I love a good pasta bake and my toddler son would love these too as, like many children, he loves mince! Great to hear that they freeze well as I like to batch cook for him and freeze in mini portions like this. Thank you for the idea.

  12. says

    Oh you are a woman after my own heart. I love Big Bang Theory – hands down one of my favourite TV programmes. I’m loving the idea of Beefaroni too, and I especially love the way you’ve made this in individual pots. I know this one is going to be very popular around here.

  13. Lynn Millar says

    Just want to thank you for the Beefaroni recipe. Tried it for the first time tonight….really yummy & a lovely & easy to follow. BBT fans here too :) Enough extra to freeze too. Thanks again, so glad have found your page.

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