Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sometimes I pretend I'm Egyptian: Macaroni Béchamel

Today was very productive. I did a lot of things. One thing I did not do was go grocery shopping. I poked around to see what I could make with stuff I already had, and I decided to make Macaroni Béchamel. I somehow forgot that milk is a key ingredient in béchamel sauce, but luckily the roomie had exactly 2 cups of milk left. Stolen!

Macaroni Béchamel is an Egyptian dish similar to Greek Pastitsio: seasoned meat between two layers of noodles, topped with Béchamel sauce. My boyfriend is Egyptian and this was one of the first Egyptian dishes I ever tried...I started making it myself because his mom couldn't keep up with my macaroni béchamel cravings. I'm sure my method is not at all traditional, but I like it!

1 box Penne pasta
1lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk, room temperature


Prepare pasta according to directions on package. Preheat oven to 350. Preheat a medium pan.

  Add beef and onions to hot pan.  Cook until onions soften and meat is cooked through. Drain and return to pan.

Season with pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, to taste (I use about 1 tsp of each)

PS how cute are my Halloween towels?

To Make Bechamel (because apparently I didn't take any pictures...maybe I should have focused less on my Halloween towels)
Melt butter over medium heat.
Whisk in flour and cook for about 2 minutes
Add milk and whisk until there are no lumps
Season with salt and pepper, to taste
Season with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, to taste (I use about 1 tsp of nutmeg and allspice and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon)

Mix a heaping tablespoon of béchamel sauce into meat and onions

Layer ingredients in pan: noodles, meat, more noodles. Top with remaining béchamel sauce.

 Cook at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until top is brown and edges are bubbly

This is a heavy, dense dish. This is by no means diet food. It is delicious.

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