At first glance this may seem like just another macaroni and hamburger casserole. Not so! This Poverty Casserole recipe is good enough for company. The ingredients may start out like a normal casserole, but with the addition of sun dried tomatoes and a little cream this casserole becomes something special! This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Cold Weather Cooking. The story is that Sarah Leah Chase developed this recipe as an attempt to make a quick and humble supper of hamburg and macaroni. Like I’ve said before I’ve never made a recipe from this book that wasn’t absolutely delicious! This recipe makes 4-6 servings.
3 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef
8 whole sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained and minced
1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes in puree
2 Tbsp. Oregano
2 tsp. Dried marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste
1 box (16oz) ziti
2 large eggs
2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 cups shredded mozzarella
3 Tbsp. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Before getting started preheat your oven to 350. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for five minutes. Stir in the ground beef and cook until it looses it’s pink color. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and seasonings. Let the mixture simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile cook the ziti in a large pot of salted water until al dente, and drain.
Whisk the eggs and cream together in the bottom of a 3 quart Dutch oven or other ovenproof casserole. Quickly toss the drained ziti with the eggs and cream. Add the meat mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Fold in 1 ½ cups of the mozzarella. Top the pasta mixture with the remaining ½ cup mozzarella and the Parmesan.
Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the casserole in bubbling. Serve at once with a salad and some bread. Once you try this Poverty Casserole you may never go bake to the basic recipe for hamburger and noodles again. The addition of the sun dried tomatoes gives this dish a wonderful flavor. Enjoy!