Traditional-Style Pastitsio #Ragu
photo by Lea Grimland
- Ready In:
- 2hrs 50mins
For the Meat Sauce
- 1 1⁄2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1⁄2 cup chopped parsley
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup Ragú® Pasta Sauce (hearty traditional tomato sauce)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
For the Macaroni
- 11 ounces elbow macaroni noodles
- 1⁄4 cup butter, melted
- 4 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese or 1/2 cup pecorino cheese
- 1⁄4 cup feta cheese
- 1⁄4 cup goat cheese
- 1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese, for topping
For the Bechamel (Crema Sauce) and Topping
- 1 cup butter
- 4 cups warm milk
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Meat Sauce:
- Season the meat with the garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook on a large saucepan over medium heat, occasionally stirring and flipping to prevent too much browning, until the meat's juices have been absorbed. Add chopped onion, parsley, and butter. Brown well.
- Add Ragu Tomato Sauce and sugar. Simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.
- Strain meat sauce as much as possible. You do NOT want the sauce to be juicy. Set aside.
For the Macaroni:
- Bring large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, salt generously to prevent pasta from sticking.
- Add elbows to water, and cook until soft, about 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. (TIP: Be careful not to overcook the pasta at this stage, because it will be cooked a bit more in the oven once the Pastitsio has been assembled.).
- Drain the macaroni well. Put into a large bowl.
- Pour melted butter over the macaroni, and mix. Add the egg whites and cheeses, excluding the 1/4 cup of Parmesan to be saved for the top. Mix.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 x 2.25 inch baking pan (or any pan close to these measurements).
- Layer half the macaroni on the bottom of the pan.
- Spread the meat sauce evenly over the macaroni.
- Layer the remaining half of macaroni over the meat sauce.
- Make the cream sauce *, and pour over all, allowing the sauce to seep through. Sprinkle the saved 1/4 cup of Parmesan over the cream sauce, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until top begins to bubble, and cream topping is lightly golden brown.
*For the Cream Sauce:
- Melt butter in saucepan. Add the flour. Blending with a wire whisk, simmer for 3 minutes. Do NOT brown. Add the milk,constantly whipping briskly. Simmer until the sauce is creamy, smooth, and thick.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks. Add the hot cream sauce to the egg yolks, and beat constantly until well blended.
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