|Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce and Béchamel|
I made this recently just in time for an unexpected houseful of people. It was divine. I love pastitsio but some of the kids don't like the usual spices used in it so I compromised and used the standard Italian meat sauce.
The Béchamel usually forms its own layer atop everything, but my pan wasn't big enough so it all sort of settled together. It was just as good that way!
Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce and Béchamel
Ready In: 1 hour
1 pound ziti - cooked and kept warm
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 cups prepared marinara or other tomato based spaghetti sauce
4 cups milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 355 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and set aside.
For Meat Sauce:
1. Brown ground beef with onion and garlic until no longer pink. Drain excess fat.
2. Add sauce and stir well. Set aside.
Make the Béchamel:
1. Heat milk until just hot and set aside.
2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat and add flour. Stir until smooth and cook several minutes.
3. Pour milk into roux in a thin stream and whisk constantly until milk starts to thicken.
4. Whisk eggs until light and add a cup of hot milk sauce to them and stir briskly so the eggs do not cook.
5. Pour into milk and roux and continue cooking until sauce is thickened.
6. Add nutmeg, salt and 1 cup shredded cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Use to assemble immediately.
1. Pour 1 cup Béchamel into ziti and stir well. Layer ziti in the bottom of the prepared pan.
2. Spread meat sauce over ziti and level with a spoon.
3. Pour remaining Béchamel over the top and spread evenly over all to cover completely.
4. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.
5. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.