When I was growing up we would go to my grandparents house for the weekend and my grandma would always make dinner. Coming from an Italian background dinner was always together as a family, at the table, and full of delicious food. One of my favorites was my grandmas homemade tomato sauce with Italian sausage and polenta.
I remember the smell of olive oil and garlic wafting through the house as she cooked. To this day it’s one of my favorite smells… warm, inviting, and full of memories. Now, my house has those same smells filling the house on days I make tomato sauce and even more so with this baked pasta with béchamel and tomato sauce.
Nothing is better on a cold fall day than a baked pasta dish full of rich tomato sauce, cheese, and a creamy béchamel sauce.
Béchamel is also known as white sauce, is made with a roux of butter and flour cooked in milk. It is one of the mother sauces of French cuisine. Béchamel is traditionally made by melting butter, and adding an equal part of flour in order to make a roux, which is cooked under low heat while stirring. Because it’s a white sauce you have to be careful to not brown the flour mixture. Then heated milk is gradually whisked in, and the sauce is cooked until thickened and smooth.
Béchamel is also the starter for a smooth and creamy sauce for mac & cheese!
Over the summer I grew my own tomatoes again and spent a lot of time making homemade sauce. So I made a big pot of it with homegrown green peppers, onions, garlic, hamburger, and of course Italian sausage.
It was so tasty! But the addition of Béchamel sauce made it better. It adds a layer of depth and creaminess that isn’t normally in a pasta dish.
- Béchamel Sauce
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- Tomato Sauce
- (For this you can make your own or use a store bought.)
- 1/2 lb hamburger
- 1/2 lb Italian sausage
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 green pepper chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic finely diced
- 3 - 4 cups of fresh tomato sauce or 1 jar of sauce from the store.
- Olive oil
- 1 box of your favorite pasta - I used mostaccioli
- Parmesan cheese
- Warm the milk in the microwave.
- In a sauce pan melt the butter over low heat and then whisk in the flour. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes but do not let it brown.
- Slowly add in the warmed milk whisking the entire time. Don't stop whisking! You want the sauce to smooth. The mixture will thicken as you stir & cook.
- When it's thick remove from the heat and set aside.
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large pan and let it warm slightly. Add in the hamburger and Italian sausage and brown. Toss in the onions, peppers, and garlic and continue to cook for 5 - 7 minutes until the veggies are softened.
- Pour in your tomato sauce and cook for 10 minutes so all the flavors meld together. If you're using a homemade tomato sauce you'll want to add in some basil, oregano, salt, and pepper for lots of flavor.
- Cook according to the package direction
- You'll layer this a lot like lasagna. Tomato sauce on the bottom, then pasta, Béchamel, tomato sauce and then repeat the layers until you're left with just Béchamel and tomato sauce on top.
- In a preheated 350 degree oven bake the pasta for 20 minutes covered until warm and bubbly. Top with some parmesan cheese and enjoy.
As this baked the house filled with such a wonderful smell that I didn’t have to call the kids down for dinner! To say that they loved this baked pasta might be an understatement and for once I was happy that I made too much.
Have you made a béchamel sauce before?
How did it turn out?
What did you use it for?