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Greek Pasta Bake (Pastitsio)

A Greek Pasta Bake also known as Pastitsio is the perfect marriage of flavours. My recipe consists of a layering of perfectly cooked pasta seasoned with herbs, lamb mince in a delicious tomato sauce, béchamel sauce and melted cheese. This dish is a great crowd pleaser and can be made in advance and refrigerated to bake the following day or for the weekend.


2 tsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp dried mixed herbs
1 tbsp sugar
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
500 grams minced lamb
1/4 cup red wine
1 can tomatoes
1 seasoning cube
2 bay leaves
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 egg yolk
400 grams Daawat Penne Pasta, boiled
2 eggs
2-3 cups Cheddar cheese, grated


For the lamb in tomato sauce: Heat oil in a skillet and sauté the onions, half of the mixed herbs and sugar.
Add garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes to get rid of the rawness of the paste.
Add the lamb mince and keep stirring. Make sure to break the meat apart using a wooden spatula to avoid large chunks of meat and even cooking. Let cook for for 6-8 minutes.
Pour red wine onto the meat along with the tomatoes, bay leaves and seasoning cube and stir.
Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.
For the béchamel/white sauce: Melt butter in a pot and add the flour. Whisk continuously for 1-2 minutes to lightly toast the flour.
Add the milk a little at a time while stirring continuously to avoid any lumps forming.
Once thick, season with salt and pepper. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes and then whisk the egg yolk into the white sauce. Set aside.
Mix one scoop of white sauce into the lamb and stir.
In an oven proof tray, mix the cooked pasta with beaten eggs and the remaining of the mixed herbs and lay them flat.
Layer with the lamb mince in tomato sauce followed by the white sauce. Sprinkle cheese and mixed herbs over the top and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 30-35 minutes.
Let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving so that you can take out a nice portion that shows all the beautiful layers of the dish.

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