Everybody is familiar with the classic spaghetti and tomato sauce. What can you do if you want something a little more extravagant? Add béchamel and provolone and bake until golden brown. Simply delicious.
Béchamel is one of the five French mother sauces that is of Italian origin. This creamy, buttery sauce adds depth and flavor to an already delicious dish.
I’ll show you how to make the béchamel and tomato sauce so you can make this outstanding version of a classic at home. Makes 4 servings.
For the Tomato Sauce:
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 cups of passata (tomato sauce)
- 1/2 of a white onion, diced fine
- 1 clove of garlic, diced fine
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
- In a medium sized saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat for several minutes
- Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes
- Add garlic and dried basil and cook for 1 minute
- Add passata, bring to a boil, and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally
For the Béchamel:
- 2-1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 2 cups of whole milk
- 1/2 tablespoon of Herbes de Provence
- Pour milk into a cold medium-sized saucepan, add Herbes de Provence, and warm over medium heat until bubbling
- Once milk is bubbling, add butter to a large saucepan and heat over medium-high until it foams, but do not let it brown
- Add flour and stir for 2-3 minutes to cook out the flour flavor
- Slowly pour in the hot milk into the butter mixture and stir constantly. Bring up to a boil again, and turn the heat down to medium for 20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and will cover the back of a spoon when dipped. Stir regularly to prevent burning the milk.
You will also need:
- 1/2 pound of ground beef (optional)
- 1 cup of sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper
- 1/2 pound (1/2 a standard box) of spaghetti noodles cooked al denté
- 2-3 slices of provolone cheese
- Brown the beef in a large skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add mushrooms and balsamic vinegar, and cook until the mushrooms have browed, about 7 minutes
- Taste and season accordingly, then add to tomato sauce and allow to simmer while preparing noodles and béchamel
To bring it all together:
- Right before you pour the noodles into a colander, take a large spoonful or two of the pasta water and stir into the tomato sauce. At this point the tomato sauce has reduced and thickened, so this will bring it to the right consistency and help the sauce and noodles stick together.
- Pour the drained noodles into the tomato sauce and stir to coat all noodles, and let simmer for several minutes to allow the noodles to absorb some of the sauce.
- Pour the noodles and sauce into a casserole dish and level with a spoon. Ladle over the béchamel and smooth with a clean spoon.
- Chop or crumble the provolone slices into small pieces, and spread in an even layer on top of the béchamel.
- Place on the center rack of a 400° oven for 20 minutes to melt cheese.
- Turn on broiler for 3-4 minutes to brown the top.
You do not have to add the beef and mushrooms as I did, this recipe is delicious with or without.
You can also make this with a prepared pasta sauce if you want to save that step, but making this sauce is very easy and much more flavorful.
This recipe is an excellent way to use leftover spaghetti from the day before. All you have to do is make the béchamel and spread over the spaghetti, add cheese, and bake as listed above.
Please let me know if you like this recipe in the comments below, and don’t forget to share and subscribe! Enjoy!