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When Hanger Strikes

  • Writer's pictureMari

Skillet Brown Butter Macaroni Béchamel

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

I have a lot of Egyptians in my family and this one is completely inspired by them. Macaroni Béchamel is an Arab style macaroni dish I’ve been eating since I was a kid. This is an extremely simplified, quick weekday version made for busy work/school nights. All the flavours of a macaroni béchamel in a quarter of the time. Lots of shortcuts and surprises here - Kofta flavoured burger patties instead of ground beef for added flavour, honey in the meat to make it hella addicting, browning the butter for the béchamel to take it to superstar status. Using a skillet pan helps make the noodles a little crispy when they come out of the oven, but you can use a regular oven proof pan as well.

Makes 4-6 servings


For the Pasta

3 kofta flavoured burger patties (I used Sufra Halal. Substitute your favourite burger patties)

1 onion, minced

2 heaping tsp ginger garlic paste

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 tbs honey

4 cups dried pennine or penne pasta

8 cups water

1 tbs salt

For the Brown Butter Béchamel

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

2 cups milk

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp nutmeg

For the Garnish

1/2 cup parsley, minced

1/4 cup cilantro, minced

1/4 cup mint, minced

1/4 cup green onion

2 tbs lemon juice

1 tbs olive oil

2 tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup white onion, minced

A pinch of salt and pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water and 1 tbs salt to a boil. Add the dried pasta and cook for 6 minutes. You do not want to fully cook the pasta, as it will finish cooking in the oven. Strain and set aside.

2. Heat up a large skillet pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the burger patties and break up with a wooden spoon or spatula so it resembles ground beef. Once the fat starts rendering, add the onion, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook until the meat has browned, 12-15 minutes.

3. Once the meat has browned, add the tomato paste and honey. Stir well to combine then add the parboiled pasta. Stir well to coat the pasta with the sauce. Remove from heat.

4. In a small saucepan, make the béchamel. Turn the heat up to medium low and add the butter. Stir constantly for 3-5 minutes until the butter has browned. First the butter will melt, then will get very foamy. Once the foam has settled and there are brown bits in the bottom of the pan, add the flour. Stir well to combine and let it cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, little by little, waiting until the liquid has thickened slightly before adding the next addition. Once all of the milk has been incorporated, add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and whisk to combine. Once the milk starts bubbling and thickens, remove from heat and spoon evenly over the macaroni.

5. Bake the macaroni for 15 minutes, then turn the oven to broil and let it broil for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven.

6. In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the garnish. Once the macaroni is out of the oven, spoon the garnish over top. Serve immediately.


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