Tuesday, 27 April 2010



Beef and Macaroni Pie

taken from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escape 

4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1kg lean minced beef
200ml stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
10 cm cinnamon sticks
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp fresh chopped oregano
3 fresh bay leaves

For the pasta
500g tubular pasta, such as rigatoni, tubetti or tortiglioni
2 eggs, lightly beaten
50g parmesan, finely grated
2 tbsp butter, melted, for greasing
10g fresh white breadcrumbs

For the white sauce
115g butter
115g plain flour
1.2 litres milk, plus a little extra
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

For the meat sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pan. Add the onion, garlic and celery and fry until just beginning to brown. Add the minced beef and fry over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, breaking up any lumps with the wooden spoon.
Add stock, tomatoes, tomato purée, cinnamon stick, ground cloves, dried and fresh oregano, bay leaves, 100ml water, salt and some black pepper. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring now and then, until the sauce has thickened but is still nicely moist. Discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaves.

For the pasta:
Bring water to the boil in a large saucepan with salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, taking care not to overcook as the pasta will cook a little further in the oven. Drain well, transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool slightly.

For the white sauce:
Melt the butter in a medium-sized non-stick saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring, over a medium heat for 1 minute. Gradually beat in the milk, bring it to boil, stirring. Lower the heat and leave to simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with nutmeg and some salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Stir about 1/5 of the white sauce into the warm pasta with the beaten eggs and half the grated cheese. Keep the remaining sauce warm over a low heat, stirring now and then and adding more milk if it begins to get a little thick.

Use the melted butter to grease a large, shallow ovenproof dish. Spread one-third of the pasta over the base of the dish and cover with half the meat sauce. Add another third of the pasta, then the rest of the meat sauce, then a final layer of pasta.

Spoon over the remaining white sauce. Mix the last of the grated cheese with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 40 minutes, or until bubbling hot and golden brown.