MACARONI AND MEAT SAUCE
Updated: Oct 10
A lot of what I cook on the show is distributed to my friends and family after filming is over. However, when I made this dish, I had to save the entire thing for my children. This is one of their favorite Greek meals of all time. In fact, my son Nickolas is famous for how much he loves it. He always asks for it when we are in Greek restaurants and has been doing so since he is a very little boy. He likes to rank restaurants based on this dish. I’m so proud of my budding restaurant critic!
This dish is very simple to make and it wonderful to serve a hungry crowd. I typically use linguine in this dish because I really like the hearty noodles with the meat sauce. I also always make sure I have plenty of cheese to serve on the side since my family loves to stir as much as possible into the noodles. The cheesier the better!
The longest part of making this is the meat sauce so I always get that going well before it’s time to cook the pasta. Then, about ten minutes before it is finished, I cook the pasta and get a big bowl ready for presentation. My favorite thing to do is pile the pasta into big bowl, toss it with the melted vegetable butter or margarine, and pile the meat sauce on top. Then, I sprinkle of the cheese on top and bring it to the table.
Everyone gets a pasta dish of their own and can serve themselves as much as they want from the main bowl. I also include a dish of the remaining cheese on the side so people can add more to their bowls. This is really the best dish for cold winter days or family parties. It’s always a crowd pleaser and fills everyone up. I never have leftovers, which is always the sign of a good recipe!
MACARONI AND MEAT SAUCE
This is probably my son’s favorite Greek dinner. When we last went to Greece he ordered it nearly every restaurant and then ranked each one! This is how we make it at home, and it is always a crowd pleaser. I never, ever have leftovers!
Makes 4-6 servings
For meat sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 lbs ground beef (80/20)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon sea salt, more if needed
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
6 oz. (3/4 cup) tomato paste
1 ½ fl oz, (or 3 tablespoons) brandy or cognac
1 tablespoon Fytini – Greek vegetable butter, or margarine
3/4 cups grated Mytritha cheese
PREPARE THE MEAT SAUCE
Cook the meat by adding to a large saute pan with high sides. Drizzle the bottom with the olive oil and bring it to medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it is softened, about 5 minutes. Then, add the ground beef and break it up with a wooden spoon so it is very fine. Cook the beef until it is no longer pink.
Add the nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and mix it well. Continue cooking for 7 to 9 minutes, or until most of the moisture is gone from the pan.
Move the meat to one side of the pan, add in the brand and flambe until all the liquor is cooked off, about 2 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and fully combine. Once incorporated, add enough water (about 2 cups) to cover the meat and set on low to simmer or about 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Most of the liquid should be cooked off.
PREPARE THE PASTA
While the meat is cooking bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil. Cook the linguine as directed on the package.
Drain the pasta and add it to a large serving bowl.
PREPARE THE FINAL DISH
Add 1 tablespoon of the Greek butter in a small pan on a stove and immediately toss with the cooked pasta, so the pasta is completely coated.
When the meat sauce is ready, spoon it onto the top of the pasta. Then, scatter some of the cheese evenly over the pasta. Serve the rest on the side for people to add to their portions . Scoop individual portions into bowls for serving!
Nikki Glekas is the owner of Nikki Glekas Events, a full-service catering and events company located in Stamford, CT. She is currently operating with COVID-safe procedures and is happy to discuss your event and catering needs with you. To discuss further please contact email@example.com or call 203.658.8659.