Bechamel Pasta Bake (Macarona Bechamel)

A close-up of Macarona Bechamel, showing the steamy interior. With pasta meat and sauce perfectly layered.

Bechamel Pasta Bake, also known as Macarona Bechamel, is a popular dish in Mediterranean cuisine. This delicious and creamy pasta dish has a rich history and is enjoyed by many people around the world. This is also a popular dish in the Middle Eastern countries, where it is often served as a comfort food or for special occasions such as Ramadan or Eid al-Fitr. The Middle Eastern version of this dish often includes additional spices and flavours that are characteristic of the region. So I hope you're ready to discover more.



A Taste of delicious flavours

A baking dish of Macarona Bechamel (Bechamel Pasta Bake) with a slice cut out of it.

Origin and History of Pasta with Bechamel Sauce

The origins of Bechamel Pasta Bake can be traced back to Italy and France. In Italy, it is known as "Pasta al Forno," while in France, it is known as "Gratin de Macaroni." The dish is believed to have been created during the Renaissance era, when Italian and French chefs began to experiment with new and innovative ways of cooking.

Bechamel sauce, which is a key ingredient in this dish, was first created by French chef Louis de Bechamel in the 17th century. This sauce is made by mixing butter, flour, and milk, and is used as a base for many creamy dishes.

While Bechamel Pasta Bake is not traditionally an Egyptian dish, it has become popular in modern Egyptian cuisine, and can be found on the menus of many restaurants in Egypt. This is exactly how I was introduced to it, through my Egyptian friends and husband. I can truly say I instantly fell in love with it and the rest is history. I mean what's not to love about a creamy, rich bechamel sauce, perfectly seasoned ground meat and pasta that is cooked to perfection. The dish is often served as a comfort food, and is enjoyed by many Egyptians as a hearty and filling meal.

Where is it mostly eaten in the world?

Bechamel Pasta Bake is a popular dish in Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece, and Turkey. It is also enjoyed in other parts of Europe, including France and Spain. In the United States, it is commonly served in Italian-American households and restaurants.

Bechamel Pasta Bake is a versatile dish that can be served on many occasions. It is a popular comfort food regularly made in Egypt and is often served as a main course for family dinners or casual gatherings. It is also a popular dish for potlucks and parties, as it can easily feed a crowd.


Deliciously Rich & Creamy

A close-up of Macarona Bechamel, showing the steamy interior. With pasta meat and sauce perfectly layered.

How to serve Macarona Bechamel

Bechamel Pasta Bake is often served with a side salad or garlic bread. It can also be paired with other dishes, such as grilled vegetables, roasted chicken, or a meaty ragù sauce.

In Egypt, Bechamel Pasta Bake is often served alongside other popular and national dish like Koshary, a mixture of lentils, rice, and pasta, and Molokhia, a stew made from the leaves of the jute plant. It is also sometimes served with grilled meats like kebabs or shawarma.

In Italy, Bechamel Pasta Bake is often served alongside other traditional pasta dishes like Lasagna and Baked Ziti. In Greece, it is commonly served with roasted lamb or chicken.

In conclusion, Bechamel Pasta Bake is a delicious and creamy dish with a rich history and is enjoyed by many people around the world. Whether it's served as a main course or alongside other dishes, it's a versatile dish that's sure to please any crowd.


Ingredients

  • 500g Macaroni pasta (or any pasta of choice)
  • 600g Ground beef/lamb or mix
  • 3 medium Onions chopped
  • 10 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoon All spice
  • 1 tablespoon Oregano
  • 2 teaspoon Aleppo Pepper
  • 1 vegetable stock cube (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup water for the meat mixture

Bechamel Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 Litres of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
A baking dish of Macarona Bechamel (Bechamel Pasta Bake) with perfect golden top

Steps for this Middle Eastern Pasta Bake

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  4. Add the flour to the saucepan and whisk until smooth. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Gradually add the milk to the saucepan, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
  6. Add the salt and black pepper to the saucepan and stir to combine.
  7. Continue cooking the sauce until it thickens, stirring frequently. This should take around 10 minutes.
  8. In a large pan sauté the chopped onions with minced garlic and ground meat until caramelised and translucent.
  9. Add the spices and when aromatic add the tomato paste with 1 cup of water. Place the lid on top of the pan allow to cook on low for 15 minutes. Mix often to make sure the meat doesn't burn at the bottom.
  10. If using any optional ingredients, add them to the sauce and stir to combine.
  11. Add a few ladles of the béchamel sauce to the cooked pasta and stir to coat evenly.
  12. Pour 1/2 of the pasta mixture into a large baking dish and flatten to cover the base evenly.
  13. Pour the ground meat mixture on top of the pasta and flatten to cover the pasta.
  14. Then pour the rest of the pasta on top followed by all the remaining béchamel sauce.
  15. Bake the pasta for 30-45 minutes, or until the top looks broiled and bubbly.
  16. Let the pasta cool for a few minutes before serving.

This creamy Bechamel Pasta Bake is sure to be a hit at your next family dinner or gathering with friends. It's a versatile dish that can be customized to suit your tastes and preferences, so feel free to experiment with different ingredients and toppings. Enjoy!


A close-up of Macarona Bechamel, showing the steamy interior. With pasta meat and sauce perfectly layered.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is bechamel sauce?

Bechamel sauce is a creamy white sauce made with butter, flour, and milk. It is commonly used in pasta dishes and casseroles.

2. Can Macarona Bechamel be made in advance?

Yes, Macarona Bechamel can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for a few days before baking in the oven.

3. Is Macarona Bechamel a vegetarian dish?

Macarona Bechamel can be made vegetarian by omitting any meat and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth in the bechamel sauce.

4. What is the best way to reheat leftover Macarona Bechamel?

he best way to reheat leftover Macarona Bechamel is to place it in the oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. It can also be reheated in the microwave, but the texture may not be as good as when reheated in the oven.

A close-up of Macarona Bechamel, showing the steamy interior. With pasta meat and sauce perfectly layered.

If you do make this recipe, please take a moment to leave a review, comment or or any questions you may have.
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Love, Nelly :)

Recipes You Must Try

Ratings 5 from 1 votes
Cuisine
Courses ,
Time
Prep Time: 30 mins Cook Time: 1 hr Rest Time: 10 mins Total Time: 1 hr 40 mins
Servings 8
Ingredients
  • 500 grams Macaroni pasta
  • 600 grams Ground beef/lamb or mix
  • 3 Medium Onions chopped
  • 10 cloves Crushed Garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons All spice
  • 1 tablespoon Oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo Pepper
  • 1 vegetable stock cube ((optional))
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Puree
  • 1 cup water (to cook the meat mixture)
  • For the Béchamel Sauce
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 liter Whole Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.

  2. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

  4. Add the flour to the saucepan and whisk until smooth. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.

  5. Gradually add the milk to the saucepan, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming.

  6. Add the salt and black pepper to the saucepan and stir to combine.

  7. Continue cooking the sauce until it thickens, stirring frequently. This should take around 10 minutes.

  8. In a large pan sauté the chopped onions with minced garlic and ground meat until caramelised and translucent.

  9. Add the spices and when aromatic add the tomato paste with 1 cup of water. Place the lid on top of the pan allow to cook on low for 15 minutes. Mix often to make sure the meat doesn't burn at the bottom.

  10. If using any optional ingredients, add them to the sauce and stir to combine.

  11. Add a few ladles of the béchamel sauce to the cooked pasta and stir to coat evenly.

  12. Pour 1/2 of the pasta mixture into a large baking dish and flatten to cover the base evenly.

  13. Pour the ground meat mixture on top of the pasta and flatten to cover the pasta.

  14. Then pour the rest of the pasta on top followed by all the remaining béchamel sauce.

  15. Bake the pasta for 30-45 minutes, or until the top looks broiled and bubbly.

  16. Let the pasta cool for a few minutes before serving.

Nelly
Content Creator

I'm Nelly, the recipes I share here are inspired by the people, cultures and places beloved to me. Peanutswirls represents my love for food, cooking and hosting. I hope to share with you a taste of the Middle East influnced by my upbringing in the West.

I can't wait to see what we cook together.