Nothing says comfort food like baked pasta! Pastitsio (Greek Pasta Bake) is a hearty and simple dish which has all the elements of a perfect family meal. Inexpensive, delicious and filling!

This traditional dish has three main elements – pasta, a delicious meat sauce and a cheesy white sauce. Each stage is going to dirty some pots and pans but it’s totally worth it! 

Ingredients

  • 500gm beef mince
  • 1 brown onion – finely chopped
  • 1 x 700ml bottle passata
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 x 500g pkt rigatoni pasta

Cheese Sauce

  • 2 tbs cornflour
  • 625ml (2.5 cups) milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 ¼ cups coarsely grated cheese

Method of Preparation

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180°c. Fry onion in olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat until onion softens. Add mince and cook until mince changes colour (about 2-3 minutes). Add garlic and cook until aromatic.

Step 2: Add passata, chilli [optional] and oregano and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

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Step 3: Meanwhile, cook whole bag of pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente. Drain well. Spoon half of the pasta into a 3L (12 cups) capacity baking dish. Spoon over the meat mixture and top with remaining pasta.

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Step 4: To make the cheese sauce, combine the cornflour and bowl (¼ cup) of milk in a medium saucepan. Gradually add the remaining milk, stirring until combined. Place over medium heat and cook stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens slightly. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

Tip: I often add my own twist to recipes, like add more garlic or less sugar for example. But I recommend sticking to the correct quantities for white sauce. I also urge you to stir, stir, stir! No-one likes lumpy white sauce.

Whisk together the egg and 2/3 of the cheese in a bowl. Gradually add the milk mixture, whisking until combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Pour evenly over the pasta dish and sprinkle with remaining cheddar.

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Step 5: Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes or until Pastitsio is golden brown and heated through. Serve with salad and you’ve got every food group covered!

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Author

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