A tasty baked dish of lamb, pasta and tomatoes covered in a white sauce and topped with grated cheese.
Greek Pasta Bake
- Preparation time: About 40 minutes
- Cooking time: 40 minutes hob (30 minutes oven)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 450 g (1 lb) lamb mince/ground lamb
- 2 tbsp tomato purée/paste
- 2 × 400g tins or 1 × 28 fl oz can chopped/diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 150 ml (5 fl oz) good beef stock (⅔ cup)
- salt and freshly milled black pepper
- 28 g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
- 28 g (1 oz) plain/all purpose flour (3 tbsp)
- 300 ml (10 fl oz) milk (1¼ cups)
- 140 g (5 oz) macaroni (1¼ cups)
- 55 g (2 oz) Cheddar cheese, grated/shredded (½ cup)
- To serve
- Accompany with a green salad
- You will also need a 2 litre (3 pint) (8 cup) ovenproof dish.
- Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion and garlic over a medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until softened.
- Increase the heat, add the lamb, and stir-fry for 3–4 minutes until browned all over, breaking up any clumps as it is cooking.
- Now reduce the heat and stir through the tomato purée/paste and cook for 1–2 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaves, stock, and seasoning. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 35–40 minutes.
- 15 minutes before the meat sauce has finished cooking preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
- Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water as directed on the packet. Drain well.
- Meanwhile make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a small pan, then tip in the flour and stir to make a smooth paste. Cook over a low heat for 1–2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Then cook for 4–5 minutes on a low heat, stirring until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Add the macaroni to the meat sauce and then tip in the ovenproof dish.
- Pour the white sauce over the top and spread evenly to cover the mixture.
- Scatter with the cheese.
- Bake for 25–30 minutes until the sauce is bubbling around the edges.
- A foolproof way to make a smooth white sauce:
- Once the butter has melted, tilt the pan so all the melted butter rests in one corner. Tip the flour onto the pool of butter. It will then be easier to stir to a smooth paste. Also preheat the milk in a microwave, on high, for 1 minute, then gradually whisk it into the roux. Adding warm milk gradually will make a smooth sauce without any lumps.
Updated: December 29, 2019