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One Pot Macarona Bechamel (Egyptian Baked Pasta)

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An easy take on a favorite Egyptian recipe, this Macarona Bechamel مكرونة بشاميل) recipe has all the flavor of traditional baked macaroni bechamel in the convenience of one pot, because you know we love a good one pot pasta! Quick and comforting, it’s the perfect easy dinner recipe to feed a crowd! 

macarona bechamel in a pot with ground beef. Overhead shot

What Is Macarona Bechamel? 

Macarona Bechamel, also called macaroni bechamel or bechamel mac and cheese, is a popular Egyptian dish we grew up eating! Typically made with penne noodles and spiced meat, it’s defined by the warm spices and creamy bechamel sauce that’s poured on top. A type of pasta bake or casserole, it’s irresistible comfort food that everyone loves! 

Is Bechamel Sauce the Same As Alfredo Sauce? 

Although similar in appearance, bechamel and alfredo are two entirely different sauces. Bechamel sauce is simple and includes only flour, milk, butter and spices. Meanwhile, alfredo sauce requires heavy cream, butter, garlic, fresh parsley, and cheese. 

macarona bechamel on a plate with ground beef.

Is Macaroni Bechamel the Same as Macarona Bechamel? 

We commonly hear this recipe referred to as macaroni bechamel, but that term is not accurate. We believe it is commonly confused because the dish is similar to American mac and cheese. However, unlike the Western comfort food, a key ingredient in Macarona Bechamel is the penne pasta and a white sauce. Macaroni or elbow noodles are never used. 

overhead of béchamel pasta with ground beef

How to Make this Bechamel Recipe in One Pot 

For the Bechamel Sauce

  1. Start by melting the butter in a large pot over medium heat. 
  2. Add the warm milk to the butter mixture, and stir until the sauce is thick and creamy. Add salt, pepper, cinnamon and cardamom. Mix until incorporated.
  3. Pour in the warm milk, whisking to combine. 
  4. Stir in the seasonings. 

For the Baked Pasta

  1. Cook the penne according to package instructions. 
  2. Brown the beef in a skillet. 
  3. Add the ingredients to the pot with the bechamel sauce. 
  4. Stir to combine. 
  5. Serve immediately. 

Flavor Variations

This recipe is simple, but there are plenty of easy ways to boost the flavor or give it a bit of a twist! 

Swap out the meat. For a slightly different flavor replace the beef with ground turkey, lamb, or even bison. 

Add a different spice. We prefer the warm flavors of cinnamon and cardamom, but you could also include a dash of garlic powder for a more savory kick. If you like nutmeg, feel free to add a dash too!

Add cheese. Make this bechamel recipe even creamier with a sprinkling of cheese. Parmesan cheese is delicious in this recipe! 

Make it pretty. If you’re cooking for a crowd, top off your pasta with a dash of fresh parsley or thyme for a super fancy-looking dish. 

macarona bechamel in a pot, overhead shot

How to Store Leftover Macarona 

We very rarely have any leftovers, but if you do, they store well covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. Then, when you’re ready to eat, just warm it in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the oven! Feel free to add a splash of milk to loosen it up. 

Or, for longer-lasting pasta, keep it in the freezer! When kept in an airtight container, it will stay fresh for 4-6 months. Then, let it thaw in the fridge overnight, and reheat it the next day. 

Serving Suggestions

More Comforting Pasta Recipes

One Pot Macarona Bechamel in a white pot topped with white flowers for garnish

One Pot Macarona Bechamel (Egyptian Baked Pasta)

Food Dolls
A classic Egyptian comfort food made simple, One Pot Macarona Bechamel is rich, creamy, and perfect for a weeknight meal everyone will love!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 17 mins
Course dinner
Cuisine egyptian
Servings 8
Calories 417 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound dry penne noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked ground beef
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups warm whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Instructions
 

  • Cook the pasta noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Warm a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the ground beef until no longer pink.
  • Warm a saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Melt the butter. Once melted, add the flour, and whisk until combined and thick.
  • Add the warm milk to the butter mixture, and stir until the sauce is thick and creamy. Add salt, pepper, cinnamon and cardamom. Mix until incorporated.
  • Add the cooked pasta and ground beef to the pot.
  • Stir until everything is well-coated.
  • Serve immediately.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 8g | Calories: 417kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 376mg | Potassium: 476mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 202IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword beef, comfort food, easy one pot pasta, egyptian recipes, penne
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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I liked the warm seasonings used for this recipe. I chose to use ground turkey and penne pasta made from chickpeas. It turned out great!

    1. Hi! We have not tried this recipe with anything other than dairy. You are welcome to try it with your favorite non-dairy milk but we don’t know how it will turn out!