One of the side effects of knitting a tighter, more connected world is the obvious merge of cultures. This Egyptian pasta bake, known simply as macarona, is a staple comfort food in many an Arab home, and an excellent choice for this month's MENA Cooking Club challenge.. The recipe, while relatively simple (no spice beyond salt and pepper, no cheese *gasp*, and no herbs), actually delivered much more flavor than anticipated.
I put that down to the tomato paste. If I had one complaint, it would be just how addictive it is and so not good for dieters. If I had two complaints, it would be the amount of pots I had to wash, one for each of the components, and then the oven dish itself once the pasta was polished. But if there ever was a pro to outweigh the con, it would be the happy people who ate it. Adapted from here.
1 pk (400g) pasta
450g ground beef.
4 Tbsp tomato paste.
1 litre milk
1/2 cup flour.
2 stock cubes
1/2 cup butter
1 onion, diced.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Make the beschamel: In a pan over medium heat, melt butter, add flour and stock cubes and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the room-temperature milk gradually, one cup at a time stirring vigorously as the sauce will thicken, plus one more cup of water. When it is bubbly and coats the back of a spoon, turn off the heat and set aside until needed.
Make the beef mince: Cook the beef by sauteing with the diced onion until browned. When it is done add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, a scant teaspoon of salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain completely. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste to the pasta and about half a cup of the bechamel sauce; combine well.
In a 9x13 oven dish, spread about 1 cup of the bechamel sauce evenly top with half the pasta , then spread the meat mixture. Add the remaining half of the pasta and level. Crack an egg over the remaining bechamel sauce and combine well. Pour the bechamel over the pasta and spread evenly.
The dish can be covered and refrigerated at this stage, or it can be baked off immediately. Bake in a 350F preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Let it cool slightly before serving.
صحة و عافية