Bechamel Pasta Bake
Bechamel pasta bake was a dish that I always loved but my mom would rarely make it growing up. I had the pleasure of enjoying it over family friends who were Egyptian and this is one of their specialty dishes known as macrona bechamal. I was hooked from then on! Even now into my adult years, I would find myself craving this bechamel pasta bake but intimidated to make it because of all the layers and flavors involved.
Let me tell you that making a bechamel sauce is one of the easiest things to do! To some, that is the most intimidating part but I promise you that it isn’t hard at all. Just a few steps and ingredients and you will have a tasty bechamel perfect for this pasta! The hearty meat sauce also adds a lot of flavors and to this dish. The meat is well seasoned and the sauce is nicely thickened with tomato paste.
What pasta is best for a bechamel pasta bake?
While any pasta would ultimately work, some would be much better than others in regards to this dish. I would typically go for long thick ziti noodles which is what I used in this recipe. Penne pasta would work great too as often that is used in Greek pastisio which is very similar to this bechamel pasta bake.
I really hope you this this recipe a try! My husband and I devoured it in one day because it was just addicting. The bechamel is creamy, cheesy, and has the perfect crust. The meat layer is hearty and flavorful and just gives the whole meal even more sustenance. The pasta is cooked and baked to perfection and one bite with all 3 components is just heavenly! Let me know what you think in the comments!
Bechamel Pasta Bake
- 4 cups Whole Milk
- 6 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1/3 cup All-purpose Flour
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 cup Shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
- 12 oz Penne Pasta or thin ziti noodles or even shells cooked al dente
- 3 tbsp Parmesan Cheese
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 4 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1/2 cup Stock of choice
- 1 cup Tomatoes diced
- 1 Onion diced
- 4 Garlic cloves diced
- 1.5 tbsp Seven Spice
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- In a pot, add the butter and allow for it to melt. Then, add the flour to this and mix together. This will develop a roux. Allow the roux to get lightly caramelized but not too brown. Start adding in 1 cup of milk at a time to this while stirring consistently. You do not want to leave the bechamel; it can burn easily.
- Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and continue stirring on medium heat until the sauce starts to thicken. This will take a few minutes. At that point, add in both types of cheese and mix together.
- Once you have a creamy and smooth sauce then the bechamel is ready to go and just set it aside covered while working on the meat sauce.
- First, add olive oil to a pan. To that, add the minced onions and garlic. Let it cook for a few minutes until fragrant then add in the cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and stir.
- Next, add in the ground beef and make sure to break it apart into smaller pieces into the onions, garlic, and tomato. To this, season with salt, pepper, all spice,garlic powder, and add the tomato paste.
- Allow for all these flavors to cook with eachother until meat is cooked through. Add in the stock and mix everything together. Let this come to a simmer for a few minutes and make a nice hearty sauce. Taste and see if it needs more seasoning. Then, set aside.
- Spray a lasagna pan with cooking spray. Add the cooked pasta evenly to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with some salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.
- Next, add the meat sauce to the top of the pasta and spread that out evenly.
- Lastly, add the bechamel sauce to the top of the meat sauce and spread that out evenly. If the bechamel got too thick while set aside, just warm it up on the stove top until it is looser in consistency then pour on top.
- Sprinkle with a little more salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Bake in a 400 F oven for about 45 minutes uncovered. The top should be lightly browned; that is signal it is ready to be enjoyed. Then, take out and allow to cool to room temperature for a good 30 minutes before slicing through. This is so the bechamel has set. Then, enjoy as is or with a side of house salad!
Hi lovely. The recipe looks delicious.
Amu suggestions on what we can oit in the mid layer for vegetarian version?
Yes, You can definitely have the same approach and do a medley of bell peppers, tomato, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and even eggplant if you like! Those will go fantastic with both the tomato flavors and bechamel! Let me know how it goes!
What can I say? Haifa has dropped another amazingggg recipe. I made her bechamil pasta and this is my first time ever trying bechamil. It was easy to make and sooo worth it. Perfect type of comfy food. Keep them coming 🙂
Forgot to mention, I added some chopped potatoes in the meat mix.
What can I say? Haifa has brought another amaiznggg recipe to the table mashallah. This was my time ever trying bechamil and her recipe was perfect and easy to follow along. I added chopped potatoes in the meat mix. This is what I call perfect comfort food. Keep them coming 🙂
Havent tired it yet but I forgot the stock in the receipe. Will that have a big difference in favor ?
It will not have a big difference in taste. It is more so for the texture of the meat filling so it is saucier but it will still taste great.
Thank you for this recipe, it was simple and delicious!
Any tips for how to make sure the pasta itself doesn’t harden/dry up at the bottom of the pan? When I made it, I coated my pasta with some olive oil, but the pieces on the edges and bottom of the pan (I used glass pyrex) still hardened/dried after baking for 45min at 400F. Thanks
I am happy you enjoyed the recipe!
As for the pasta hardening on the edges, that’s because it develops a crust from the corners/edges and there really isn’t a way to avoid that from what I know of. Maybe, make sure it is coated with the meat sauce really well to the edge and it won’t receive as much heat and therefore won’t crisp. That is just a thoguth
Heifa, I just made this. So easy to make and delicious!! Husband loved it. Thanks for the recipe!
Is that 1 1/2 tablespoons of all-spice? My daughter in law’s family is Egyptian and make something similar. I fell in love with it and have been trying to figure out the recipe!
Yes, you can use all spice in place of seven spice and if you prefer you can start with 1 tbsp and see if you would like more. Hope you enjoy it!
Can I use a cheese other than parmesan? I know Parmesan cheese has animal rennet and I’d like to avoid that if possible. Please let me know!
You can skip it entirely or add some shredded mozzarella.
Made this last night and it was delicious! I added some mushrooms to the mince sauce as well.
Ou love the idea of mushrooms!
One of my family’s favorite dish! Comes out delicious and perfect every time! Thank you Heifa for this great recipe! ☺️
Just made this tonight! It was my first time making bechamel and it was amazing! Just watch it if you have an electric stove bc mine came out early! Thank you for the amazing recipes!
I made this for my family and the LOVED it. I didn’t have Mozzarella but used Guyere and it was really good. Thank you this recipe is a keeper
I am thrilled to hear that your family was a fan!
So easy to follow & make. Turned out so delicious ! My husband who is not big on pasta loved it & asked for more!
That is great!
Hey! I keep meaning to comment on your recipes every time I use them and I never do 😅 I’m Syrian-American and never thought about Egyptian cuisine until I married an Egyptian. I made this for my husband for the first time right after we got married (according to your recipe to the “T”) and I swear he nearly cried! He said it was the best he’d ever had, and I know it wasn’t just a compliment. He asks me for it regularly now and keeps telling his family they have to try my béchamel as soon as we move back to Egypt! Tonight is béchamel and tomorrow – your spiraled spanakopita recipe. Also a hit in our house! Thank you so much for such lovely recipes, they are consistently good. Desserts as well! If I want to try something new, I’m not scared to experiment with one of your posts; it’s so wonderful to know there’s a recipe I can count on even if I’ve never made it before.
Thank you so much for all the kind words! This truly made my day.
This is a delicious classic bechamel pasta, my picky eater son loved it and it’s my go to bechamel recipe!
That makes me so happy!
Another great hit!! This recipe was so simple and easy to follow. I made this for my husband who loves bechamel and he LOVED it! Thank youuu Fufu!
Wow!!! Heifa did it again!! Another wonderful recipe. I followed her easy steps and the result was a crowd pleaser. Everyone LOVED it. This is seriously a MUST-Try recipe.
Thank you Heifa!!!
It looks amazing and can’t wait to try! Thank you for your amazing hard work!!
I’ve been wanting a recipe as i was always desperate to try this dish. and im glad you posted it because your recipe is sooooooooo good i made it twice so far. no one in my house ever tried it so i make it and i just reheat some and eat from it every day until its done haha so so goood thanks alot
this is definetly my favorite recipe on your page. i loveeee it. i usually make it and heat it up over the next few days ive always wanted to try it but never found a recipe i trusted and as soon as you posted this i had to make it it is AMAZINGGG making me want is as im poating a review lol