1 kilo (2 lbs 4oz) macaroni No 3 (thick)
2 kilos (1lb2oz) mince meat (ground beef)
2 medium-sized onions finely diced
2-3 fine tomatoes finely diced
2 teacups olive oil
1 bay leaf
pinch of basil
150 grams (5 oz) Greek kefalotyri (a hard, salty yellow cheese made from sheep milk and/or goat's milk in Greece and Cyprus) or halloumi (a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk, and sometimes also cow's milk). If you can't find these cheeses, you can use grated emmental and parmesan cheese.
1. Sauté the onions in a teacup of olive oil until they turn golden.
2. Add the mince meat and sauté it with the onions stirring constantly until all the lumps of the meat are dissolved.
3. Add the tomatoes , salt and pepper, the bay leaf, the basil and some water.
4. Half cook the macaroni in salted water, cool down and drain.
5. In a frying pan, heat the second cup of oil and pour it over the macaroni.
6. In the meanitime prepare a bechamel sauce . It shouldn't be too thick!
7. Lay out a layer of macaroni in a pyrex dish, sprinkle it with cheese and cover with the mince meat mix.
8. Spread the remaining macaroni over the mince meat layer, sprinkle again with cheese and cover with the bechamel sauce.
9. Sprinkle the sauce with grated cheese preferably halloumi or kefalotyri but parmesan cheese will do as well.
10. Bake the PASTITSIO for about 20 minutes. Take it out of the oven, let it cool down, cut into square pieces and serve immediately!
Serve with a Domaine Hadzimichalis red - I recommend 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a soft wine, best for consuming in its youth. While the medium length body is not what you would have expected from a classic Cabernet varietal matured in French barrels and in bottle for 36 months, it has a sweet nose, round middle and quiet attractive finish. It displays none of the cedar and eucalyptus associated with many of the hot, earthy Cabernets of Southern Greece. A nose full of blackcurrant and sweet vanilla. Easy to drink on its own at 18ºC with soft cheeses or Parmegiana, red meats especially roast. This is easy-drinking wine, a fact that may explain its wide popularity in Greece.