Sixty-seven years ago today, a group of officers led a coup d’état against the constitutional monarchy of the Egyptian government as well as the colonial rule of Great Britain. They overthrew the current government, forced abdication of the monarch (and eliminated the aristocracy along with it), and then exiled him. They in turn established a republic and ended the British occupation of their country. This led to many further changes to their political landscape, but it’s still hard to imagine that their republic is only sixty-seven years old.
With banks along the Mediterranean Sea, it isn’t a stretch to consider that the local cuisine resembles other Mediterranean food in some form or fashion. I’ve never specifically had Egyptian cuisine, but we do enjoy many foods attributed to the Mediterranean. While perusing local dishes online, I came across a few that I knew I loved and some that were completely foreign to us. I settled on an alluring layered recipe called Macarona Béchamel from “Tara’s Multicultural Table” (I know, I know! I see the similitude too!) with pasta, meat, and silky béchamel.
This dish also has a Greek cousin known as Pastitsio which calls for cinnamon (not my fave), but this one only involves warm and nutty-sweet nutmeg. Do not let the nutmeg turn you off. Please don’t close off your mind the wonderful possibilities of switching up your spice cabinet! I once heard Rachael Ray mention that she grates fresh nutmeg into all of her greens while they’re cooking to improve their flavor. The nutmeg masquerades itself well in the beautiful blanket of béchamel. Once languishing on the pasta and meat layers, the nutmeg in the sauce complements and heightens the simple meat filling.
The final product is a distinctive, yet familiar casserole that was so filling and budget-friendly! I even made my own homemade tomato sauce (one of the ingredients) with ripe tomatoes from a friend’s garden (making it even more budget-friendly)! What is one foreign dish that you’ve had that was diverse, yet unpretentious?