Hearty meal for a crowd: Try makaronia tou fournou

If you’re looking for a hearty, delicious meal to serve to a hungry crowd, look no further! Helen Tsanos Sheinman, the author of “Love, Laughter and Lunch,” has her twist on a classic Greek dish.

Makaronia tou fournou

Ingredients

  • For the ground meat:

    • 1.5 pounds lean minced beef
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 1/2 cup corn oil
    • 1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped
    • 1 teaspoon mint, finely chopped
    • 1 cup of ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
    • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the bechamel sauce:

    • 5 cups fresh whole milk
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 3.4 cup of grated halloumi cheese
    • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the pasta:

    • 1.5 pounds of thick macaroni
    • 1 cup grated halloumi cheese
    • 1 teaspoon dry mint, crushed
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Prepare the ground mixture: Heat oil in a frying pan and add onions. When onions are soft, add the meat and stir until light brown. Pour in the wine. When it boils, add parsley, mint, tomatoes, salt, pepper and tomato paste. Stir, cover and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. Prepare the bechamel sauce: Warm the milk in a saucepan. Melt butter in another pan and add flour to it slowly. Stir constantly with a whisk until mixture becomes a thick paste. Now take the heated milk and, little by little, add to the flour, stirring constantly until it becomes a thick cream. This must be done carefully to avoid any lumps. Remove from heat and add the egg yolks, grated cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Prepare the macaroni: Boil water in a pot, adding salt, olive oil and then the macaroni. Cook for about six to eight minutes and stir a few times so that the pasta does not stick. Drain and put in a large bowl. Add pepper, mint, nutmeg and three teaspoons of the finished bechamel and mix well. Grease your baking dish with butter. Add a thick layer of the macaroni. Sprinkle some of the cheese and cover with half of the bechamel. Add the meat and the rest of the macaroni on top. Cover with the remaining bechamel sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the rest is cooked through. Remove from the oven. Let it cool and carefully cut into squares. The makaronia can be served hot or cold.

Helen Greek salad

Ingredients

    • 6 tomatoes
    • 2 red onions, finely sliced
    • 2 halloumi cheese, cut into cubes
    • 1/2 cup of mint leaves, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup oregano
    • 1 cup of Kalamata olives, pitted
    • 1/2 cup of olive oil
    • 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar
    • Touch of sea salt

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Chop and slice all the ingredients and add them to a salad bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar and sea salt. Serve!

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