macgratinI know summer is not the time for stew. Summer is for breezy salads and grilled meats and bowl fulls of steamed mussels or other fresh seafoods. But the salad thing gets tiresome day after day and I don’t have a patio where I could put a barbecue, even if I were allowed to have one in my condo complex. Sometimes I want to just throw a bunch of things in a slow cooker and be greeted by the delicate aroma of beef simmering in wine when I come home from work. The question becomes: what to do with all the leftovers? Sometimes I freeze them it in individual portions, sometimes I make la macaronade.

When I first came across the recipe for this dish in Patricia Wells’ classic French country cookbook Bistro Cooking I was surprised. It seemed a little declasse for a woman who is considered an authority on French cuisine. A bubbling leek and potato gratin is one thing, a gratin of macaroni quite another. But since I am a big fan of anything topped with cheese and baked in a hot oven, I soon became a convert.

To make an authentic macaronade, you must prepare a traditional French beef stew, such as an estouffade or daube.  The wine-rich broth layered with the pasta and freshly grated cheese makes a delicious meal anytime and is a perfect way to use up all those leftovers.

La Macaronade

Recipe from Patricia Wells’ Bistro Cooking

Serves 4

macoronade

Ingredients:

1 pound (500g) elbow macaroni

1 cup liquid (25cl) reserved from a beef stew

1 cup (3.5 ounces; 100g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

salt

Directions:

1) Preheat the broiler. Bring a large pot of water to a roiling boil. Salt the water and add the pasta. Cook until tender. Drain.

2) Spoon half the noodles into a 2-quart (2l) gratin dish. Moisten with the stew liquid. Sprinkle with half the cheese. Add the remaining pasta, liquid and cheese.

3) Place under the broiler until the cheese is browned and bubbling.

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