Ekaterini Papadopoulou’s Pastitsio
My version of a Greek classic, real comfort food for troubled times, especially away from home as I am, living in Germany!
Minced meat sauce:
Fry 1 big onion in olive oil
Add 1/2 tsp of sugar and then garlic (1-2 cloves, whichever way you like it)
Add 2 tbsps of concentrated tomato purée and fry a little bit more
Add 600g beef mince bit by bit and gently fry it
Add a little vegetable stock (1-2 tsps)
Add 400g diced tinned tomatoes and cook with 2 bay leaves and 1tsp of cinnamon l, and let it simmer.
Add a small glass of red wine and a handful of parsley (without the stems)
Add salt and pepper after your own taste and let it simmer until it all comes together and softens.
Take out the bay leaves
Heat 100g butter and whisk in 100g plain flour Add 1 litre of milk bit by bit, keep on stirring to avoid clumping
Once the sauce simmers, take it off the heat and add 100g grated pecorino cheese.
Once it’s cooled, to avoid scrambled eggs, add 2-3 egg yolks and season with salt and nutmeg.
Cook 500g of macaroni for 3 minutes (it shouldn’t be fully cooked)
Grease a round casserole dish (approximately 33 cm diameter)
Add the pasta mixed with 1 ladle of Béchamel sauce and 2 eggs with your hands.
Mix in 1 ladle full of Béchamel sauce with the minced meat sauce and poor it over the pasta mix.
Finally pour the rest of the Béchamel sauce on top of the mix and cover it with grated cheese.
Bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes.
Let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.