My friend Ariana got this recipe from her Greek grandmother and has passed it on to me. Ariana and I have worked a lot to quantify the ingredients since her grandmother has always made it from memory! I like the flavors in this pasta and find it's a great alternative to lasagna or mac-n-cheese. Sometimes Ariana serves this at our kid's playgroup - needless to say, we never miss group when she hosts! —Kelsey Banfield
1 9x13 pan
For the filling
small onions, finely chopped
diced tomatoes with juice
perciatellia pasta (or any long pasta with ridges or curls for absorbing sauce
Preheat oven to 400. Heat the oil in a large skillet, add onions and stir until translucent. Add the meat and cook until fully browned. Add the red wine and reduce it by half. Then, add the tomatoes and let the mixture simmer on low-heat for about 30 minutes. If it get's too dry, add a small amount of water to loosen it up.
To make the bechamel: Heat the milk in a saucepan over low-heat until it is warm to touch. In a large saucepan melt the butter over low-heat then, working quickly, add the flour and whisk together to make a roux. Whisk for 1 minute to cook the flour slightly. Gradually add the warm milk, stirring constantly so that the mixture stays smooth and everything is fully combined. Keep whisking the sauce until it starts to thicken enough to coat the back of the spoon. Then, remove it from the heat. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add a small amount of the hot sauce to them. This will temper the eggs so that they don't cook when added into the hot bechamel. Once the eggs are combined, add the 1c. of grated cheese and stir until it is melted and totally incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.
Once pasta is cool, toss it with 1 t. olive oil to coat and divide it in half. Spread half of the pasta on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Cover with a layer of the grated cheese and all of the meat mixture. Top meat mixture with the remaining half of pasta.
Pour bechamel over the pasta and sprinkle remaining grated cheese over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until top is brown.
Home cook, food blogger, cookbook author, wine lover, avid traveler, and mother of two young children. Check out my books: The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food into Family Life (2012), and The Family Calendar Cookbook: From Birthdays to Bake Sales, Good Food to Carry You Through the Year (2015), Running Press.