PASTITSIO - GREEK MACARONI PIE


BY TANGORAINDROP

Pastitsio is a Greek-style macaroni cheese pie with a deep meaty filling akin to moussaka or lasagne. In this easy family favourite recipe, @tangoraindrop layers lashings of gooey macaroni cheese top and bottom to make a delectable spiced lamb mince sandwich.

Ingredients

Serves 5-6

  • 235g dry elbow macaroni; reserve the pasta water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 500g lean lamb mince
  • 1 lamb stock pot
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds; toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 135g plain yogurt
  • 125ml full fat milk
  • 80g Kefalotyri cheese or parmesan
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/375F.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the macaroni according to the package instructions, until al dente. About 8 minutes. Reserve 300ml of the pasta cooking water to make your stock with. Drain the pasta in a colander and pour over plenty of cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and gently sauté the onion and garlic for 8-10 minutes, until softened. Add the lamb mince, season well with salt and pepper, and cook until browned all over.

Mix the stock cube with the pasta water to make a lamb stock and pour into the lamb mixture along with the ground spices, tomato puree and chopped mint.

Simmer, gently, for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture is thick.

Heat the butter in a small saucepan until melted and beginning to bubble. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk and yogurt. Return to the heat and cook gently for a further five minutes. Remove from the heat again and stir in half of the grated cheese.

Mix the cooked macaroni with the cheese sauce and spoon half of the mixture into the bottom of a medium sized baking dish. Spoon over the spiced lamb mince and top with the remaining macaroni. Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese.

Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.

Serve with a side salad.

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