Recipe: Spaghetti and beef mince pasta bake

Spaghetti and beef mince pasta bake

A twist on the Greek pastitsio. 

For more tasty ideas, visit 4X4 Australia's Bush Cooking recipes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 2 or more tsp minced garlic
  • 1-2 tsp minced chilli or paste (or use fresh, finely chopped chilli)
  • 1 zucchini – grated
  • 1 carrot – grated
  • 500g beef mince
  • 550g jar pasta sauce (with or without flavourings)
  • 2 tsp sugar (can use more or less as it helps take the acidity out of the tomatoes)
  • 375g spaghetti – break lengths in half
  • 2 cups béchamel sauce (plain or cheesy) – see recipe below
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese and/or a mix of cheese

Simple Béchamel Sauce

  • 4 tbs butter
  • 4 tbs plain flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • Salt and pepper (for seasoning)

METHOD
Pasta bake

  • Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion, garlic and chilli for a few minutes until softened.
  • Add the zucchini and carrot and stir over a medium to high heat until softened.
  • Remove and set aside.
  • Add a little more oil to the pan, heat and add the mince and cook until browned. Make sure you break up the mince so you don’t have any lumps.
  • Add the pasta sauce and sautéed vegetables and mix through.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes – the longer you cook it, the more the flavour will develop.
  • While the sauce is cooking, cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling, salted water until al dente.
  • Add the hot cooked spaghetti to the cooked mince sauce and mix well.
  • Spoon into an ovenproof, or casserole, dish and gently press the mince mixture down.
  • Spoon the béchamel sauce over the top and spread evenly over the mince then sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes or until the top has browned and the ingredients are heated through.

Béchamel sauce

  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan and then add the flour.
  • Mix well and cook over a very low heat for about 5 minutes – this helps get rid of any ‘floury’ taste in the sauce.
  • Add the hot milk at once, and whisk well – adding the hot milk at once means you won’t get lumps.
  • Cook over a moderate heat for 5 to 10 minutes until the sauce is thick. Whisk often and add more milk if it gets too thick. But, it does needs to be thick.

VIV'S HINTS

  • You can add some dried basil, oregano or dried Italian herbs, along with fresh basil or oregano to the mince. You can also add chopped mushrooms and use as many vegetables as you like.
  • Béchamel sauce: You can add ½ cup of grated cheese – Parmesan, or a mix of Parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella and provolone. As well as some ground nutmeg.

 

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