Cuisine: Greek
Author: Clifford A. Wright
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups hot milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites, whipped to form firm peaks, but not dry ones
  • Pinch plus 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1½ cups freshly grated kefalotyri cheese (substitute white cheddar if needed)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cups crushed or chopped fresh ripe or canned tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 6 whole cloves, ground
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground allspice berries
  • 1 pound ziti lunghe or mezzani
  1. In a large saucepan, melt ½ cup (1/2 stick) butter over medium-high heat. Stir in ¼ cup flour and cook this roux until it begins to turn very light brown or golden, 6 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Whisk 2 tablespoons of the hot milk into the egg yolks. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk 2 cups of the hot milk into the roux. Return the saucepan to medium-low heat and cook a few minutes, stirring. Remove from the burner again and stir in 2 of the egg yolks and milk. Set aside.
  2. Make a thicker Béchamel sauce by following the instructions in step 1 using another ¼ cup (1/2 stick) of the remaining butter, the ½ cup remaining flour, the remaining 2 cups hot milk, and the remaining 2 egg yolks. Once the sauce is made, stir in the whipped egg whites, a pinch of the nutmeg, and ½ cup of the kefalotyri cheese.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then cook the onion until translucent, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring. Add the beef and brown with the garlic, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, cinnamon, the remaining teaspoon nutmeg, the cloves, and allspice and season with salt and pepper. Mix well, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until well blended and fragrant, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, salt abundantly, and add the pasta. Cook until very al dente. Drain.
  5. In a small skillet, melt the remaining ¼ cup butter; once it turns brown, pour over the pasta. Toss the pasta with the thin Béchamel from step 1; you just want the pasta coated not soggy with Béchamel, so you might not need to use it all.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Butter a 9 x 11 x 2-inch baking or lasagna pan. Cover the bottom of it with half the pasta. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of the kefalotyri cheese. Pour the meat sauce over the pasta, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle with another ¼ cup of the kefalotyri. Cover with the remaining pasta, and sprinkle with another ¼ cup of the cheese. Cover the pasta with the thick Béchamel from Step 2. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup kefalotyri evenly on top. Bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe by Cook-Coquus at