This Egyptian pasta bake, known simply as macarona, is a staple comfort food in many Arab homes. While relatively simple (no spice beyond salt and pepper, no cheese, and no herbs), the recipe delivered much more flavour than anticipated. I put that down to the tomato paste. If I had one complaint, it would be just how addictive this macarona is and not suitable for dieters. If I had two complaints, it would be the number of pots I had to wash, one for each component, and then the oven dish itself once the pasta was polished.
Egyptian Cheesy Macarona
- 450 grams ground beef
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 litre milk
- ½ cup flour
- 2 cubes chicken stock (chicken broth or chicken bouillon)
- ½ cup butter
- 1 medium yellow onion - diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 medium egg
Bechamel Sauce Instructions
- In a pan, 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 it aside until needed.
Beef Mince Instructions
- 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 directionsa and drain completely. Put 2 tablespoons of tomato paste to the pasta and about half a cup of the bechamel sauce; combine well.
- In a 9×13 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 350 degrees Fahrenheit preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let it cool slightly before serving.