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Pastitio (Greek Pasta With Seasoned Beef And Bechamel)

Meat and Tomato Sauce
2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground beef or lamb
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. oregano
1 cup red wine or beef broth
15 oz. can tomato sauce

Bechamel Sauce
4 T. butter
4 T. flour
2 ½ cups milk
1 tsp. kosher salt
pinch of white pepper
4 large eggs, beaten

Topping
2 cups grated Parmesan, Romano or Asiago cheese (or use a combination)
ground cinnamon

Pasta
1 lb. ziti, penne or rigatoni pasta, cooked a little underdone, drained


Have the pasta cooking while making the sauces.
In a large skillet, heat the oil and sauté onion until soft. Stir in the garlic; sauté another minute. Add the ground beef or lamb, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Cook until meat is no longer pink, crumbling as you cook. Stir in the oregano, wine and tomato sauce. Simmer on low heat, covered, for 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
For béchamel sauce: Heat the butter in medium saucepan, stir in the flour and whisk over medium heat until incorporated. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until thickened. Stir in the salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Cool slightly in saucepan. Have the eggs beaten in separate bowl. When sauce is cooled, whisk in the eggs.

To assemble:
Place 1 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking pan. Top with ½ of the pasta, ½ of the remaining tomato sauce, and ½ of the béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with some of the grated cheese. Continue in same manner with remaining pasta, tomato sauce and béchamel sauce. Sprinkle top with remaining grated cheese and a little ground cinnamon. (Can be made a day ahead up to this point, refrigerated and then baked.)
Bake in 375o oven for 30-35 minutes, uncovered. Cool slightly before cutting into 6-8 portions. Serves 6-8.

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