Opa!

Pastitsio

1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
SAUCE:
1 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
Cook macaroni according to package directions. In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, water and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain macaroni.

In a large bowl, combine the macaroni, egg and Parmesan cheese; set aside. For sauce, in a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour and cinnamon until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into eggs; return all to pan, stirring constantly. Stir in cheese.

In a greased 3-qt. baking dish, spread half of the macaroni mixture. Top with beef mixture and remaining macaroni mixture. Pour sauce over the top. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

I cannot tell you what a change up on lasagna this is! The spices make it a little more adult, the white sauce makes it a little more comfort food. I did this with a greek salad and thick ciabiatta bread and called it a night.

Don’t know greek salad? Easy stuff – lettuce, black or kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, pepperoncini (i.e. the infamous peppers that come with the delivery pizza), feta cheese. Additionally, red or green bell pepper or croutons are nice.

However, if you really want to delve into greek cooking, and you should, there’s not a dish I’ve hated yet – then try moussaka – which is very similar to this dish omitting the pasta and white sauce for eggplant and more tomatoes.

There’s also the option to do spinach or roasted potatoes with this. I put a little seasoning salt and pepper, lemon juice and oil and let the potatoes go into the oven at a high heat until their done. Spinach with a little feta and sauteed onion mixed in is also a nice accompaniment.

Enjoy!

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