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Pastitsio > pasta and beef with Béchamel sauce June 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.

Ingredients >  
For the Béchamel sauce >
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter
¾ cup flour
6 cups hot milk
6 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

For the meat filling >
¼ cup olive oil
2 onions, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup parsley, minced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
½ cup dry red wine
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the pasta >
1 pound penne or other pasta
1 cup grated Greek Kefalotyri cheese (or substitute Romano or Parmesan)
3 tablespoons melted butter
Paprika for garnish

Method >
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the sauce: In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in flour. Gradually add hot milk, continuing to stir until smooth. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until almost frothy. While still beating, add the hot mixture to the eggs slowly. Whisk or beat on low until mixture is smooth and thickened slightly. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside.
To make the meat filling: In a large skillet, heat oil until shimmery over medium-high heat; add onion and garlic. Sauté until softened but not browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the ground beef, in batches if necessary. Cook, breaking up clumps with a wooden spoon. When thoroughly cooked, pour off excess fat.
Add parsley, cinnamon, nutmeg and tomato sauce. Stir in well. Pour the wine into the tomato sauce can, stir well to get the last of the sauce and add wine to the meat mixture. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
To assemble: Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and rinse in a colander. In a large bowl, combine pasta with ¾ cup of grated cheese, melted butter and 2 cups of the béchamel sauce. Mix in all the meat filling.
Spray or butter a large casserole, 10 by 15 by 3 inches or so. Spoon the pasta and meat mixture into a smooth layer. Pour the rest of the béchamel sauce over the pasta and meat. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese. Dust top with paprika.
Bake for about 1 hour, until top is golden brown and puffed and cheese is melted. Cool 20 minutes before cutting. Serves 12.

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