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Cook1 hr 30 mins
Pastitsio is a popular dish served at family gatherings and elegant buffet dinners. The bechamel sauce on top makes for its uniqueness.
- 2 large onions, minced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄8 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄2 cup fresh breadcrumb
- 2 1⁄2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3⁄4 cup butter
- 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 cups warm milk
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
- 8 eggs
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- In a large saucepan, saute onions in butter until opaque. Crumble beef into saucepan and brown.well. Drain off the fat.
- Add salt, pepper, tomato sauce, water and sugar. Stir well and simmer 35-40 minutes. At this point there should be very little water in the sauce.
- Remove from heat and cool. The meat sauce can be made ahead of time.
- In a saucepan, melt butter and then add in the flour, stiring constantly using a wire whisk. Gradually add the warm milk, stirring vigorously until sauce thickens. Add nutmeg, remove from heat and cool.
- When ready to use meat sauce, add half of the bread crumbs and 1 1/4 cups parmesan cheese. Stir well and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook the macaroni per package directions in boiling salted water until almost al dente. Drain well, stir in the olive oil and set aside.
- Butter an 11x17 inch baking pan and sprinkle with 2 tbsp bread crumbs. Spread half of the macaroni across the baking pan and sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over top.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl using a wire whisk and add in 1/2 cup of the cooled bechamel sauce. Stir well and then add egg mixture into the rest of the bechamel sauce. Add the cheese and stir well.
- Cover macaroni layer with meat sauce. Pour half of the bechamel sauce over the meat and cover with remaining macaroni. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over macaroni layer.
- Top macaroni layer with remaining bechamel sauce and top with remaining bread crumbs and cheese.
- Cook in the oven on a center rack for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Let sit 20 minutes to firm up before cutting and serving.
- This casserole freezes well and is easy to reheat. Place the frozen pastitsio, covered loosely with foil, in a 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours or until heated through.