Greek Pastitsio - mince and pasta bake with cheese sauce
Greek Pastitsio recipe - beef mince and pasta bake
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Servings: 4 -6 servings
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion peeled and finely diced
- 2 large garlic cloves grated or minced
- 500 g lean beef or lamb mince
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch cloves
- 175 ml | 6 fl oz white wine or vegetable stock
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 400 g | 14oz chopped tomatoes in tomato sauce
- 5 tbsp tomato paste
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 400 g | 14oz macaroni or penne pasta
- <b>For the cheese sauce</b>
- 25 g | 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp plain all purpose flour
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 300 ml | 10 fl oz whole milk
- 50 g | scant 2oz grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese plus 1 tbsp for topping
- 50 g | scant 2oz finely grated strong cheddar cheese or feta cheese crumbled
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
Heat the olive oil in a lage pot over medium-low heat and cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
Add the lamb or beef mince and brown for 5 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.
Stir in the spices, herbs, cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, wine and vinegar. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Bring to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
Cook the pasta until it is al dente – cooked but with a bit of a bite. Rinse, drain and mix with the meat sauce.
Pack into a large ovenproof dish.
Make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a pan and whisk in the flour and mustard powder. Cook over low heat for two minutes.
Gradually add the milk and whisk it in.
Add the cheeses and whisk to combine until melted.
Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the beaten eggs and nutmeg.
Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and place the dish on a large baking tray.
Bake for 30 minutes then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of grated cheese and the dried thyme. Bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese layer is set.
Cool for 10 minutes and serve with a green salad or steamed vegetables.