Pastitsio

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1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef , lamb or veal

3/4 tsp. salt

Fresh black pepper, to taste

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. oregano

2 cups tomato puree

2 tablespoons parsley , minced

1/2 lb elbow macaroni , cooked to al dente

1 tablespoon olive oil

Saute onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil in skillet until translucent. Stir in beef and cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper, cinnamon, and oregano. Stir in the tomato puree and parsley. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed. Toss cooked elbow macaroni in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to prevent the macaroni from sticking together.

Bechamel Sauce:

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

3 1/2 cups whole milk

3 egg yolks, beaten

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp white pepper

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Melt the butter and blend in the flour; slowly whisk in the milk and cook about 5 minutes until it creates a thin white sauce. Whisk 1 cup of the white sauce into the egg yolks to temper and whisk back into the remaining white sauce; stirring over low heat. Do not allow to boil. Add the nutmeg , salt and white pepper.

In a greased 9×13 pan , put a thin layer of macaroni in the bottom followed by a layer of meat sauce and repeat a second time, ending with the meat sauce layer. Pour the cream sauce over the top and jiggle slightly so that the sauce runs through the layers. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 15-20 minutes. Cut into squares to serve.

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