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Pasta with Bechamel and Stewed Meat

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2 months ago
Topics: My Story, Blog, Food, Experience, Life, ...

Well, it's not because of any kind of sweet addiction or anything like that, I'm just so used to my lunches that I don't notice that they can be interesting. Desserts, on the other hand, I don't prepare them every day and they sound more novel to me, although today I'm going to show you my lunch, very basic and extremely easy to make, it's perfect to spoil that loved one.

A ground beef stew is the simplest thing there is and its ingredients can also be simple, I am going to prepare a very simple and economical one, using ingredients that I had in my fridge and that you may also have.

πŸ§… 1 Small Onion

πŸ«‘ 1/2 medium paprika

🌢️ 3 sweet peppers

πŸ₯© 150 gr ground beef

πŸ§„ Garlic powder

πŸͺ΄ Dried oregano

🩸 Onoto

⚰️ Chicken Broth Pill

πŸ§‚ Salt to taste

There are mainly two ways to make this preparation, the first one is by previously suffering the vegetables together with the meat, which will make us get a deeper color and a more intense meat flavor, although that usually brings as a consequence a problem and that is that the vegetables may remain visible.

Personally I don't mind them, but my mom has problems with the texture of the onion, that's why I prefer to blend the vegetables, this will give me a less intense flavor but a creamier texture and free of lumps.

And basically that would be all, once the ingredients have been liquefied with a little water, just add the result to the meat and cook over medium heat for at least 15 minutes.

The only "secret" is that we add the salt at the end, when most of the water has evaporated and it is not really something that will have a great impact on the result, it is simply a good habit when making any stew, as it helps us to better control the level of salt in our preparation.

What I am about to say sounds like sacrilege, but I consider Bechamel sauce to be one of the most overrated mother sauces in existence. I know that there are versions of versions and that logically a good version could take hours of preparation, although it is not something that is beyond everyone's reach. I will show you a simple and easy way to make a bechamel sauce, one that won't cut you and using basic ingredients.

πŸ₯› 1 cup whole milk
🧈 1 tablespoon of Margarine
πŸ§‚ Salt to taste
πŸ’£ Black pepper to taste
πŸ›’οΈ 2 tablespoons of Oil
🌾 2 tablespoons of Wheat Flour

The first thing to do, although it may seem obvious, is to prepare the milk. I use powdered whole milk, more specifically 3 tablespoons per cup of water. Technically you should use 6 tablespoons per liter of water, so this milk will be less diluted than usual.

And let's see, the bechamel is still a kind of artificial milk cream, so to speak. So preparing the milk a little more pure than usual, will give us a more intense flavor and a creamier texture. You must do it this way, please, do not use carton milk for this recipe, it is possible, but it is not the same.

Now, I have to clarify this, you could easily put all the ingredients in the blender and then cook over low heat while stirring, but the classic way and the one that gives the best results is the following.

Add the margarine (if it is butter, it is better) and the oil to a pot and heat over low heat, really over low heat. When the margarine starts to melt, add the wheat flour and start stirring. And this is an interesting trick, toasting the flour will give us an almond flavor that we will not get if we simply mix everything and that's it.

This is where the complexity of the bechamel sauce comes into play and where we will get two sides that will make a big difference. As you can see, I am adding a small amount of milk at a time and eventually a cream is formed as the flour absorbs the liquid, I just add more milk and continue mixing. Always on low heat.

Well, in the traditional recipe, original, canonical, ansestral or however you want to say it, this step takes MINIMUM, 35 minutes. That is, you add more milk and wait for some of it to evaporate. This gives the flour more opportunity to toast and above all gives the opportunity to develop more intense and complex flavors, because the first thing to evaporate is the water and only the fats remain, which also helps to get that shiny and silky texture. In summary, the more worked a Bechamel sauce is, the better quality it is.

Once you have it ready, however you have done it, it is important to add the salt right at the end. Again, it is not something that will make a big difference, although it is a healthy habit that, I repeat, helps to maintain the correct level of salt in our preparations.

I added only salt and black pepper. You can also add a little grated nutmeg, just a little. Did you know that nutmeg is hallucinogenic and can be a deadly poison?

Generally we assume that others must have the same knowledge as we do and activities that seem easy to us may not be easy for someone else. That is why, although it may seem very obvious, I am going to explain this to you.

For the pasta, once you have the water boiling, you must add a whole spoonful of salt, if you add only a pinch, it will not be enough. It is not necessary to cut the long pasta in half, if the water is boiling it will go into the pot by itself, you only have to stir it a couple of times during the first minutes. It is NOT necessary to add oil, this is a myth, if you add oil it stays on the surface and when you strain the pasta the first thing that goes down the drain is the oil, so do not waste it, add it once you have strained the pasta. Finally, cook the pasta to your liking or using the time that the package tells you, yes, al dente pasta is very tasty, but let's be honest, we all leave the pasta until it is soft (10min), so cook it to your liking.

Last tip, when you start frying bananas, do not take your eyes off them, they are deceptive, you get distracted for a second and they are already burned.

By the way, I forgot to mention it before, I am cooking 200 grams of pasta. In case you didn't know, 50 to 80 grams is the right amount for children, 80 to 120 grams is the right amount for adults with sedentary jobs (like me) and 120 to 180 grams for people with high level of physical activity. I recommend 100 grams, depending on the type of pasta you will see more or less abundant in the dish, but believe me it is a good amount ☺️

As you can see, it is time to serve and it is very likely that if you see me from another country you will be thinking "why do I add so many things?" and well, I do not know how to say it, Venezuelans eat many things in one dish. A very visual example is the American hot dog and the Venezuelan hot dog, Google it and you'll see what I mean.

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