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pastitsio

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This is my version of Pastitsio, its like a Greek lasagna…….. layers of cheesy pasta with rich and spicy minced beef topped with a bechamel sauce.  I don’t really make this very often, as it does require a little extra effort, but its always appreciated and when I ask what they would like me to make for dinner…..most of the time, the boys ask for this pasta and mince dish.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE
1 kg mince beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can diced tomatoes

1 cup passatta (tomato puree)
1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar
1 chilli chopped (seeds removed)
salt and pepper
chopped continental parsley
For the Bechamel sauce
4 tablespoons butter
about 5 tablespoons flour
1 cup beef stock, cooled
1 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 packet penne pasta
handful of grated cheddar cheese
What you need to do
Boil the pasta until just cooked and set aside
Fry chopped onions add garlic and then meat, cook till brown.
Add cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, chilli, tomatoes and tomato paste, stir in parsley (stems and leaves)
Simmer for about 30 mins until liquid evaporates.
While that is bubbling, make the béchamel sauce
melt butter, remove from strove and add flour till the consistency is thick.  (almost like a dough ball) Stir in cooled stock and milk
Return to heat and stir till the mixture thickens and add grated cheese
Continue to stir till cheese has melted.
Now assemble the pastitsio.
spread a very thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish
mix the cooked pasta with a handful of cheese and spoon half into the dish
Add a generous layer of cooked meat sauce
Then add the rest of the pasta before finishing with a layer of béchamel sauce.
Bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes until the sauce is golden  brown
Remove from oven and sit for 10minutes before slicing
I always serve this with a large greek salad and crusty bread.
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