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It's Greek to Me! μακαρόνια ογκρατέν

pronounced mah-kah-ROHN-yah oh-grah-TEN

Get your mind off the weather! Here’s a recipe older than the Internet. From a small handwritten recipe notebook now falling apart, dating back to days when Calgary, Alberta, was probably one of the most cosmopolitan places on earth since hardly anyone was actually from there. With a university and oil fields, the women from all over liked to shop at the various ethnic markets where the bill was still a made out in their native language. Getting together to cook was a great way to get acquainted,

Of course back then and there no scallops were available so this was just μακαρόνια ογκρατέν, makaronia ograten. One made it in a rather shallow layer in a rectangular pan so it was easily cut into traditional squares for serving. One might even have been able to get some of the traditional cheeses: mizihra, kefalotyri, or certainly pecorino, or feta and white cheddar which make adequate substitutes.

With the arrival of whole farmed PenBay scallops the story changes. The pale cheeses and pasta are combination just whispering “Add some dainty scallops” and you have a worthy rival for Lobster Mac.

Makarónia ograten

Cook 1 cup of dry pasta, preferably a short macaroni with twisted ribs in boiling water for 4 minutes. That will give you 2 cups of slightly undercooked pasta. Now for the ograten part of the recipe which you will recognize is not simply a white sauce of the standard mac and cheese.

Separate 2 eggs and beat the whites moderately stiff. Fold in the beaten yolks and add ½ cup Half n Half and ½ cup grated cheese. Since we are already iconoclasts, any mixture of white cheddar, feta or even cheese curds will do. Add one or two dozen shucked and gutted Princess scallops (about ½- 1 cup of whole scallops).

Top with ½ cup bread crumbs, skillet-browned in 2 tablespoons of butter. Since the crumbs are already a lovely golden color, you do not need to overcook the casserole to get a nice topping.

Bake at 375˚ for 20-30 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into squares to serve.

Since it is rather challenging to cut squares from a dish made with little round scallops, why not go the whole non-traditional route and use a round casserole or even individual ovenproof dishes?

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