350g (or 4 cups) ribbed penne pasta (can use elbows, or other shapes… if you’re using gluten free pasta, just skip the breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3 tbs butter
3 tbs plain flour
1 1/2 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheese (your favourite type will do)
salt, pepper, baharat
In a large pot on high heat, bring salted water to a boil.
Add in the pasta and cook to al dente. Strain.
Meanwhile, prepare the bechamel sauce by melting the butter in a non-stick pot on low heat.
When ready, add in the flour and mix to form a soft dough (this is the thickening agent).
Gradually add in the milk (about 1/4 cup intervals), don’t stop stirring.
When completely integrated, add 1 cup of cheese and stir in until melted.
Add a good pinch of salt, pepper and baharat (the sauce should become like mocha in colour)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Transfer the pasta into the bechamel sauce pot and stir until well combined.
Add a dash of salt to taste (i.e. try one!) and mix in.
Prepare an 18 cm by 26 cm baking try by lightly greasing it.
Cover the bottom lightly with a handful of breadcrumbs.
Transfer to the baking tray and add some more breadcrumbs on top.
Use the rest of the cheese to cover the pasta.
That bechamel sauce was the darkest I’ve yet made…
A dash of breadcrumbs if you fancy, and pop into the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
When ready, I suggest you cut it up into huge slices to avoid the guilt of coming back for seconds.
A very hearty and warming lunch or dinner in winter!