Recipe for Trinidad Macaroni Pie (Trini Macaroni Pie). Macaroni noodles are tossed in a spiced evaporated milk and cheese mixture, then baked until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
Want to add a little spice to your macaroni and cheese this holiday season? Macaroni Pie from Trinidad is a delicious variation with the addition of jalapeño, garlic, paprika, and thyme to a thick and creamy cheese sauce. It may have originated in Trinidad, but is now popular in many areas of the Caribbean.
The mixture creates a thick sauce to help bind the noodles together. If you want it a little thinner and more creamy, you can add about 1/2 cup regular milk after mixing in the evaporated milk.
I added 1 tablespoon of minced jalapeño, about 1/2 of the pepper. This was perfect to include the flavor without being overwhelming. If you want a bit more kick, add the whole pepper. You can also sprinkle some jalapeño over the top with the cheese. Some even replace the paprika with cayenne. I have yet to come across scotch bonnet peppers. I even tried to grow them once to make up for this and failed miserably. If you are able to find scotch bonnet, feel free to use it in place of the jalapeño or even habanero. Adjust the spice as needed. Scotch bonnet packs more heat.
I used fresh mozzarella, so that is why the top of my macaroni pie is a little spotted. Mozzarella with less moisture will blend in more evenly.
This was enough to serve our family of four as a side dish. The ingredients can be easily doubled to serve more.
Trinidad Macaroni Pie Recipe
Adapted from Immaculate Bites
Trinidad Macaroni Pie
- 8 ounces dried macaroni
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1-2 tablespoons seeded and minced jalapeño pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 cup finely diced onion
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 egg
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 teaspoon salt or creole salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- Fresh thyme for garnish
Grease an 8x10 inch baking dish with butter or oil. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until barely tender, al dente. Drain and set aside.
While the noodles are cooking, melt butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the jalapeño, garlic, paprika, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the onions and continue to cook until softened. Mix in the flour and cook for another minute. Slowly add the evaporated milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Stir often to keep the bottom from burning while the mixture thickens.
In a small bowl, beat the egg. While continuously whisking, slowly add about 1/4 cup of the heated milk mixture. Once combined, slowly pour back into the pan while constantly stirring. Mix in about 3/4 of the shredded cheese, then the salt, pepper, and dry mustard until smooth. Toss in the macaroni. Season if needed. Spread in an even layer in prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Bake in preheated oven until heated through and the cheese on top is bubbly, 20-30 minutes. Serve hot topped with fresh thyme if desired.