A classic Greek comfort food
500 gr bucattini or penne pasta
the meat sauce
2 tbs olive oil
600 gr lean ground beef
1 onion, thinly chopped
1 garlic clove, sliced
450 gr chopped tomato
1 tsp tomato paste
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp granulated sugar
¼ tsp oregano
½ stick cinnamon
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
80 gr kefalotiri (or pecorino)
the white sauce:
500 ml whole milk
50 gr butter
50 gr flour
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Boil the pasta and strain
- Add 2 tbs of olive oil to a pan.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened.
- Increase the heat to medium, add the ground beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a spoon, for about 10 minutes, or until browned.
- Add the tomato paste, allspice, the bay leaf, the oregano, the cinnamon stick and sugar, and season with salt and pepper.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and let cool
- Meanwhile, prepare the white sauce.
- Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, and then stir in the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat and gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth.
- Return the sauce to medium heat and simmer, whisking constantly, for 5 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 180o C.
- Grease a pan with butter and cover the base of the dish with half the pasta
- Spread the meat mixture on top and cover with the rest of the pasta
- Spread over the rest of the béchamel
- Spread the cheese and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes before serving.