Children love pasta with minced meat sauce. This is a Greek classic!

There are a lot of different ways to make any kind of pasta with a sauce made with minced meat and tomato sauce. The Italian classic is Spaghetti Bolognese or Lasagna. The Greek Pastitio (Παστίτσιο) is comparable with the latter.

Traditionally Greeks use “Kefalotyri” for cooking. It is a very aromatic hard cheese made from goat’s and cheep’s milk. You can use also Gruyere cheese, Parmesan or any other aromatic hard cheese you like.

What you need:

For the sauce:
1 kg minced meat (beef)
2 medium sized onions
1 garlic clove
1 medium carrot
1 can diced tomatoes (400 gr)
1 glass of dry red wine (100 ml)
1 laurel leaf
1 medium cinnamon stick (appr. 5 cm long)
50 gr grated Kefalotyri
Some olive oil to fry

For the Bechamel sauce:
100 gr butter
100 gr flour
1 liter milk
Grated clove
2 egg yolks
100 gr grated Kefalotyri

500 gr Macaroni pasta

How to prepare:

Chop the onions and the garlic finely, grate the carrot with the fine holes of a grater.

Heat some olive oil in a large pot. Add the minced meat, separating with a spatula. Fry on medium heat for about 8 minutes. Do not turn too often to keep the meat juicy.

Add the onions, garlic, carrot, laurel leaf  and the cinnamon stick and cook on medium heat until soft for about 2-3 minutes.

Deglaze with red wine. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and let cook on medium heat with closed lid for 20-30 minutes until the liquids have dissolved.

Remove the laurel leaf and the cinnamon stick.

Remove from the heat and add the Kefalotyri stirring well. Set aside.

Cook the Macaroni pasta 2-3 minutes less as recommended on the package. When cooked let drain well. Do not cool with cold water. There should not be left water inside the Macaroni. Add some olive oil on top, so that the pasta does not stick.

For the Bechamel sauce melt the butter in a pot. Add the flour and stir well until the butter and the flour have bound. Add the milk slowly stirring constantly. Add some salt, nutmeg and a pinch of clove powder. Let cook until thickened while stirring. Remove from the heat. Let cool for 10 minutes.

In a cup stir the egg yolks. Add the egg to the Bechamel sauce slowly while stirring well. Add the grated Kefalotyri.

In a greased baking tin (25×30 cm) lay the macaronis. Add one large serving spoon of the Bechamel sauce, stir to mix with the pasta.

Spread  the minced meat on top of the pasta evenly.

Add the remaining Bechamel sauce, spreading evenly on top of the meat.

Cook in the preheated oven on 180ºC for 40-50 minutes until the top has turned golden brown.

Let cool for 30-40 minutes before serving.

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