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A slice of Bechamel Pasta bake on a plate with a piece cut out using a fork
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Bechamel Pasta Bake (Macarona Bechamel)

This comforting Bechamel Pasta Bake is so delicious and requires simple ingredients. Make the pasta and the meat sauce, but the magic behind this dish is the silky Bechamel sauce that gets poured on top. Delicious!
Course Mains
Cuisine middle eastern
Keyword Bechamel pasta, Macarona Bechamel
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 6

Ingredients

For the pasta:

  • 600 g Penne pasta
  • Water
  • Salt

For the meat sauce:

  • 700 g lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1.5 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

For the Bechamel sauce:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 L milk
  • 1 chicken stock cube dissolved in 1 cup hot water or 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 375F
  • Start by boiling the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside
  • For the meat sauce, finely dice the onion and cook in a pan with the vegetable oil, stirring occasionally until softened for about 5 minutes
  • Add the meat and break it up using a wooden spoon and cook until browned, for about 5-7 minutes
  • Add all the spices and the tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside
  • Make the bechamel sauce by melting the butter over medium heat
  • Add the flour in a few tablespoons at a time and continue whisking as you do this to form a roux. Cook for 3-4 minutes as you continuously whisk
  • Warm the milk by heating in the microwave for a few seconds until its room temperature or slightly warmer (you don't need it to be hot). Cold milk works too but warm milk is easier to incorporate
  • Pour the milk in slowly while continuously whisking. The sauce may look lumpy but don't worry - keep pouring in the milk and whisking. If you feel your sauce is catching on the bottom of the pan, turn the heat down to medium low
  • When milk is finished, add in the chicken stock and continue to whisk for 4-5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Check by coating the back of a spoon and running your finger through it - it should stay separated
  • Mix the pasta with roughly 1 cup of the Bechamel sauce
  • In a deep, large casserole dish, add a tablespoon of Bechamel sauce and spread it around, then add half the pasta
  • Add all of the meat mixture on top and even out the layer, then add the remaining pasta
  • Cover with all of the Bechamel sauce and smooth it out - you should have enough sauce to cover the whole thing well
  • Cover the casserole with aluminium foil and bake at 375F for 45 mins. Uncover and broil for 15 minutes to brown the top
  • Allow the pasta to cool for 15-20 minutes to set, then cut into pieces and enjoy

Notes

  • Chicken stock is optional. If you don't have it, just use more milk
  • For the Bechamel, use warm milk to make it easier to incorporate into the roux
  • You can layer this dish ahead of time, then either refrigerate and use the next day or freeze and thaw overnight in the fridge before baking