Macarona Bechamel: The Egyptian Lasagna
By: Nevin Girgis/ Arab America Contributing Writer
All around the Middle East there are always several versions of dishes, a consistent one is Macarona Bechamel from Egypt. Macarona Bechamel is a beloved dish made from the perfect combination of several ingredients. This dish includes pasta, seasoned ground beef, and a creamy thick white bechamel sauce. Most importantly, this dish is straightforward and easy to make. Incomparably, the ultimate comfort food.
Pasta- typically Penne or Rigatoni
Salt, Pepper, Dried Basil, Garlic powder
Canned tomato sauce
Garlic cloves- diced
Milk/ heavy cream
- Boil the pasta as per instructions on the package, preferably, Al dente.
- Sauté the onion in vegetable oil until almost translucent, include the ground beef until browned. Add the spices and diced garlic and mix.
- To the meat mixture, add the tomato sauce and paste. Let the ingredients of the meat sauce come together and add water to let simmer for half an hour.
- In another pan, on low heat, add the butter and flour. Whisk together until the mixture looks toasted.
- Slowly, add your milk or heavy cream and continue whisking. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Allow the mixture to thicken over medium heat. Put aside to thicken further, off the heat.This is the glorious bechamel sauce.
- Drain your pasta. Add a small cup of your bechamel sauce to your pasta and mix until the pasta is all coated with the sauce.
- Transfer half of your pasta/ bechamel mixture onto a deep baking tray. Spread evenly. Then, add your whole meat sauce mixture to the tray on top of the first layer of pasta. Then, add the second half of the pasta mixture. Finally, add the remainder of the bechamel sauce over the pasta. Again, spread evenly.
- For 35 minutes, place the baking tray in a 400°F oven. Take out when the top is golden brown.
- At this step, some individuals like to add mozzarella cheese or a melty cheese on top and place under the broiler for a few minutes to give it a nice brown color and crispy top.
- Make sure to rest the tray for at least 10 minutes to allow the layers to stay in tact when cutting.
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