Our recipe of the week comes from Mohamed Fayed, Senior Operations Manager in Rhode Island. Mohamed says, “This dish was the first love of my life (and still is). It was the first dish I asked my mom, to teach me how to make, when I came here to the US. The best part about it is, it tastes better the next day, so I always make extra for leftovers!”
- 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.
- 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
Cook the pasta for 5 mins (halfway cooked) and set it aside.
- In a pot, add the butter and allow it to melt. Then, add the flour to this and mix it together. This will develop a roux. Allow the roux to get lightly caramelized but not too brown. Start adding 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 both types of cheese and mix them 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 until fragrant, then add the cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and stir.
- Next, add the ground beef and break it apart into smaller pieces including onions, garlic, and tomato. To this, season with salt, pepper, allspice, and garlic powder, and add the tomato paste.
- Allow for all these flavors to cook with each other until the 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 adjust spices if needed.
- Mix the pasta with ¾ of the bechamel sauce in a big bowl.
- In a baking pan layer half of the pasta and add the meat sauce on top then the rest of the pasta on top.
- Add the rest of the bechamel sauce on top and spread evenly.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and put the pan inside uncovered for 45 mins
- Let cool for 25-20 mins before serving.