Tired of the same old recipes for dinner? Switch things up with this Greek version of lasagna. Forgo the tomatoes for this one — béchamel sauce goes a long way in this meaty casserole.
Traditionally the Greek version blends a bit of tomato sauce into the ground meat mixture. But for this recipe, we’re going the Cypriot route and omitting the tomato.
- 1 package Greek macaroni pasta (or penne if you don’t have a Greek market nearby)
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 litre warmed homogenized milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1 cup Greek Mizithra (or Romano) cheese, grated
- 1 egg (optional)
- Salt, pepper and cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a large pot, pour the chicken stock, and add enough water to boil the pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, but keep the water-chicken stock mixture, and set it aside.
- Mix together the pasta, 2/3 cup of olive oil and half a cup of grated cheese. Spread in a smooth layer into a casserole dish.
- In a pot or Dutch oven on medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté the onions until translucent (about 2 minutes), then add the parsley, ground meat and salt and pepper to taste.
- Brown the meat thoroughly, then turn off the heat. Spread a layer of the meat mixture on top of the pasta.
- In a separate pot on medium to high heat, add the butter. Once melted, add the flour, and whisk for a couple of minutes. Next, stir in the milk and egg. Pour in 2 cups of the chicken stock, and whisk the sauce until it begins to boil. Lower the heat, add half a cup of cheese, and continue to whisk until the béchamel is thick and creamy. If needed, add more flour to thicken it.
- When the sauce is thick enough that it sticks to your whisk, remove it from heat, and pour it over the meat in the casserole dish in a smooth layer. Garnish with cinnamon, and place in the oven for 45 minutes.