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Saturday, November 14, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Macarona bi Béchamel and Taratoor

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Macarona bi Béchamel

This seems to be the Arab answer to macaroni and cheese. Only without the cheese. It is really tasty, and takes only two pots and rather little time. From start to finish, I can make this in about 30 minutes. This was the first meat food that Jerome ate as an infant. We were at a potluck with my cousin, and he was eyeing the dish, and it pained her to see him looking at it without having a taste, so she told me he wanted it and grabbed him and gave him a little bite. He ate it with alacrity, so she kept feeding it to him.

I like to use smoked paprika to serve this, but regular paprika is fine.

Meat Sauce and Pasta:

2 pounds ground beef or lamb
2 onions, peeled and diced
1 head garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoom aleppo pepper flakes or red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
1 pound tubular pasta like elbow or penne
2 tablespoons kosher salt
water (1 1/2 cans full)

Béchamel:

6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs

paprika, to serve
finely chopped parsley, to garnish

In an ovenproof pot, preferably one that is wide and will fit under your broiler, brown the meat over medium-high heat and break up into small pieces. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, aleppo flakes, allspice, and cook, stirring to mix, about a minute.

Add the tomatoes, and cook down to blend. Save the can to wash out the remaining tomato and to add water to the pot. Stir in the dry pasta, sprinkle with the kosher salt, and pour over about 1 1/2 cans' full of water. Stir and bring to a boil.

Cover and reduce heat to low, and cook for about 8 minutes (or about one minute less than the package directions for the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, make the bechamel. Melt the butter over medium heat in another pot. Sprinkle with the flour and mix well, cooking for about a minute or two to eliminate the raw flavor. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook for a few minutes to thicken. Stir in the salt. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and set aside.

When the timer has gone off, remove the lid from the pasta and sauce pot, and turn on the broiler on high. Cook the pasta and sauce, stirring a little, to finish cooking and make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. Gently pour the béchamel sauce over the top, to cover the pasta and sauce in a layer and do not stir into the pasta.

Put the entire pot under the broiler for 5 - 6 minutes, to cook and set the béchamel sauce. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with paprika, then parsley, to serve.

Taratoor

This next recipe is really a guideline, and you will have to make it to your own judgement based on consistency and taste, but this is a good start. I have given a small amount here, but you can scale it up or down based on how much you would like to make. It stores forever in the refrigerator.

1/4 cup tahina
juice of 1 lemon
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
salt, to taste
water, to thin

Mix the tahina, lemon juice, and garlic together with a little salt, maybe a little more. I think 1 teaspoon is a good place to start. It will get thick. Pour in a little warm water at a time and mix well, until it is a drizzly consistency, but still a thickened sauce, not just liquid. Drizzle it on everything. Because it is delicious.

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