Egyptian Macaroni Bechamel
Don't let the recipe intimidate you, sure there's a few steps to this dish but if it's just like assembling lasagna SO CALM THE FUCK DOWN AND GET WITH THIS CAIRO COMFORT FOOD
Cook the pasta how the package says. They know best.
To make the filling, warm up the oil in a large saute pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and saute that shit until it starts to look a little golden, 5-7 minutes. Add the jackfruit, stir, drizzle in the Braggs, and keep sauting until the jackfruit starts to not look so wet, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, allspice, nutmeg, and cardamom and make sure all the jackfruit gets coated as you saute for 2 minutes. Fold in the tomato paste and let it cook for another minute. Stir in the lentils, thyme, parsley, spinach, and tomato sauce, turn down the heat, and let the whole pan simmer for about 7-10 minutes so all the flavors get to know each other. Turn off the heat and set this aside. This can be down up to the night before. Just stick it in the fridge until your ready to do the damn thing.
When you're finally down to clown, warm up your oven to 400 degrees and grease up a 9 x 13 baking dish (think what you’d put lasagna in). Now we bechamel. Grab a large saucepan and warm up the oil or butter over a medium heat. Once everything is all melted and warmed up whisk in the flour. It will look a little like a thick paste but keep whisking cause we’re toasting up the flour, about 2 minutes. Now whisk in the milk slowly because you don't want it to get all clumpy.Keep whisking making sure there are no lumps in it. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Whisk pretty continuously until the milk is simmering. Once it starts getting thick like a gravy, about 5 minutes, you're good to go. Turn that shit off and build the dish.
Mix half the bechamel sauce into the cooked pasta, then throw half of that pasta into the bottom of the grease dish. Now layer jackfruit mixture over the pasta evenly. Now add the rest of the pasta on top so that the filling is all covered. Finally, pour the remaining bechamel sauce over the top of the dish and kinda spread it around so it even and the top pasta layer is mostly covered. Bake it in the oven at 400 degrees for 45-60 min or until the top is golden brown. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
* Buy the jackfruit in a can that’s packed in water or brine, not syrup. A 20 oz can will get you 2 cups shredded no problem.
This recipe was featured in our FORKED UP episode with Basseem Youssef