Pastitsio

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Makes

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The Greek equivalent of lasagna, this is a great dish for a buffet or potluck. Instead of making it in a single 9 x 13 in.(23 x 33 cm) baking dish, you can make it in two 8 in. (20 cm) square baking dishes. Bake and serve one now, stash the other in the freezer.


Ingredients

  • 750 g lean ground beef
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , chopped
  • 1 796-mL can tomatoes , (don't drain)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan

Instructions

  • Crumble the ground beef into a large skillet, and cook over medium heat with the chopped onion and garlic for 5 to 7 minutes, until the beef is browned and the onion and garlic are softened. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Lower the heat slightly, and cook, stirring, for 20 to 30 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the flour and cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once in a while, to keep the sauce from sticking on the bottom. Remove from heat.
  • Beat the eggs in a bowl, then gradually add about 1 cup (250 mL) of the cream sauce, stirring constantly. (Adding the hot sauce to the beaten egg prevents the egg from curdling.) Then, pour this egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the sauce, and stir to combine. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Boil the macaroni in a large pot just until done, but not mushy.
  • OK – here comes the easy part. Dump half of the macaroni into a greased 9 x 13 in. (22 x 33 cm) baking dish, spreading it out evenly. (If you’re doing this in two smaller baking dishes, divide all the ingredients accordingly. Let your child help you figure it out.) Cover with half of the cream sauce and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Spread all of the meat sauce over this. Now, the rest of the pasta, the rest of the cream sauce and the rest of the cheese.
  • Bake at 400°F (200°C) for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and sizzling. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes to firm up slightly before cutting into squares to serve.

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