Macaroni pasticcio

  • for 6 people
  • Takes 15 minutes to make, about 1¼ hours to cook, plus cooling, freezing, defrosting and reheating
  • Easy
Pasticcio is sort of a macaroni lasagne that originates from Greece. This is a short-cut version that substitutes the béchamel sauce for a cheesy mixture. Make double the quantity of the meat sauce and freeze half, then it’ll be really simple to make the dish again another day.

Nutritional info per serving

Per serving: 643kcals, 51.5g fat (30.1g saturated), 28.6g protein, 10g carbs, 8.5g sugar, 1.1g salt

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1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
500g lean beef mince
150ml Marsala or Madeira
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
500g pack macaroni or other short pasta
2 x 250g tubs mascarpone
50g grated Parmesan or Grana Padano


1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the onion, garlic and bacon for 5 minutes. Add the beef mince, stirring with a wooden spoon to break it up, and cook for 3 minutes more. Pour in the Marsala or Madeira and bubble rapidly for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the chopped tomatoes, oregano and some salt and pepper, and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan170°C/gas 5. Cook the macaroni in a large pan of boiling, salted water for 10 minutes until just about cooked but still firm in the centre. Drain well, then return to the pan.
3. Tip half of the pasta into the meat sauce, season well and mix together, then turn out into a large ovenproof dish or individual dishes. Stir the mascarpone and Parmesan or Grana Padano into the remaining pasta in the pan with 100ml boiling water from the kettle, stirring until the melted mascarpone coats the pasta.
4. Spoon the mascarpone-coated pasta into the dish/es. Bake for 20 minutes until the pasta is golden on top.
5. Cool completely, then wrap well in cling film and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost before reheating at 190°C/fan170°C/gas 5 for 25 minutes until piping hot – cover with kitchen foil if it’s browning too much.

  • Slightly undercook the pasta – it will finish cooking in the oven. Baking the pasta dishes before freezing prevents the pasta sticking together. You can reheat these in the microwave. Defrost, cover with cling film and cook for 4-5 minutes or until piping hot.

From May 2009

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