Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Recipes from Malta: Imqarrum

Imquarrum (also called Imqarrun il-forn) is descended from a dish served in Sicily, but the Maltese have adopted it as a traditional staple. The key to making this dish is to be patient ... it has to be simmered for a long time, and then it has to be baked for a long time.

from the Maltese food blog I Love Food


  • Vegetable oil as needed

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 18 oz lean ground beef

  • 3 cups tomato puree*

  • 1 level tsp Italian herbs

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 18 oz rigatoni, tortiglioni, or penne pasta

  • 3 eggs

  • 3 ½ oz edam or Cheddar cheese, grated


*The Maltese version of tomato puree is called passata, and it’s generally just an uncooked tomato puree without the seeds and skin. But since it’s going to be cooked with the beef anyway, I think canned tomato puree is a reasonable substitute.

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and add the onions. Saute until translucent. Die from boredom.

  2. Add the ground beef and cook until brown. Drain the excess fat.

  3. Add the tomato puree and herbs. 

  4. Simmer for 1 hour. 

  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, cook the pasta for a couple of minutes less than you usually would. Drain.

  6. Add the sauce to the pasta and mix gently, taking care not to break the noodles.

  7. Stir the eggs and fold them in (you might want to let the sauce/pasta cool down a bit first to prevent curdling)

  8. Transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish and sprinkle the cheese on top.

  9. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until the cheese is starting to brown a little.

  10. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

What we thought:

First of all, blog meals should not be cooked on weekdays, no matter how simple they look like they might be. I trashed my kitchen, got frustrated, and took terrible pictures. The food was good though.

Imquarrum is not a difficult dish to make ... it's takes some time, but it passes the picky eater test (I do still have some of those even though my kids are all teenagers now). In flavor, it's really not too far off from a baked lasagna. I did sort of regret not choosing something a little more … how can I say this in the least offensive way possible … not like a typical American pasta casserole? Of course, other recipes would have compounded the “no blog meals on weeknights” problem, so I guess I’m not complaining. 



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