When I was 12 my mother showed me how to make this dish called "Pastichio". Basically it is pasta, meatsauce and a white cream sauce (bechamel). You would think now, that this would take about 30 to 45 minutes maximum to make. Well, my mother had me in that kitchen for about 4 hours... OMG, I never thought I would be able to make this on my own.
With time and many many many tries, I have mastered this dish to about 40 minutes, including the baking... So, here goes...
Try to think about what your dish is. This one is pasta with 2 sauces. So, let us try to make it just as simple as that.
The recipe: PASTICHIO
1 lb pasta (preferably a noodle with a large hole - penne, rotini, pastichio noodles)
5 table spoons of butter (3 tbsp for the bechamel and 2 tbsp for the pasta)
3 cups of milk (whole, or even 2%)
1 quart 35% cooking cream (heavy cooking cream)
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese (here you can alter or include romano, mitzithra, monterey jack)
3 - 4 tbsp of white all purpose flour
pinch of nutmeg, salt, pepper
3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 lb ground beef (I like lean but you choose which you would prefer)
1 cup bread crumbs (you can use corn chips, corn flakes - whatever you wish that is dry and a bread)
2 roasted red peppers
1 garlic head (or 1 tsp of chopped garlic)
1 tsp dry or fresh parsley
1 can of whole tomatoes ( or if you have ripe fresh tomatoes that is also good)
2 pots are needed.
1st pot: Boil your pasta al dente (once cooked and drained place in your lasagna pan and place over it the 2tbsp of butter. Leave to the side
2nd pot: At same time as pot 1 is boiling, heat the oil and then place in the meat to brown. Once the meat is cooked place in the mix from the food processor, cover and cook on medium for 20 minutes.
Once Pasta is removed from 1st pot, place in there the 3tbsp of butter to melt, then add in the flour to create a rue. Once the mix is starting to brown a bit add in the milk and the cream. Let that heat to a quick boil, then stir in the cheese and the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Keep stirring till you see it start to thicken. Once thick like a soft pudding remove from heat.
Your meat from pot 2 should be done. Place that over the pasta that is in the pan, move it around a bit so that it blends with the pasta. Then cover that with your bechamel sauce. sprinkle with a bit of dry cheese and breadcrumbs. Place in the oven at 375 for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven when the color on the top has started browning. Let sit for 20 minutes... ready to serve and enjoy! Note you can always serve following day. To many it is preferred... if you can hold off till then...