Cyprus pasta oven baked - Macaronia tou fournou
Mrs Amalia loved especially this dish – I remember that at Easter, after 50 days of fasting she liked very much to cut the macaroni in pieces and arrange them on a serving dish, in this way she could eat the leftovers in the oven dish before we all sat at the table!!
I did quite some experiments with this dish, first of all the children went to university and the dish was too large to eat by just the two of us, secondly each of the family had his own recommendation how to improve the dish even if it was just slightly. The result is in the recipe below.
300 gr medium to thick macaroni
400 gr condensed milk
800 ml water
275 gr flour
400 gr minced pork
1 onion - garlic (optional)
150 gr dry salty goat cheese "anari"
cinnamon, salt and pepper
Start with boiling the macaroni in a large cooking pot (28cm) with plenty of water and salt or chicken cubes for 12 minutes. Scoop the macaroni in a medium to large oven dish. Keep the cooking water for later use. Pour some olive oil over the macaroni and mix lightly. Add half of the quantity of the anari cheese, cinnamon to taste and 2 - 3 tablespoons of cooking juice, mix it all together.
While the macaroni is cooking, prepare the minced meat. Fry the chopped onion in a little olive oil in a large frying pan until soft, add the minced pork and salt and pepper, fry the minced pork until evenly browned. Do not overcook the meat.
Switch of the heat and add the chopped parsley.
Add the meat mixture to the macaroni in the oven dish as a layer above the macaroni.
For the béchamel sauce take a large cooking pot (26cm). Add the eggs and stir a little, add the milk, water, a little less than half of the grated cheese, a little salt and the flour, while stirring continuously with a whisk bring to the boil, the sauce thickens and when big bubbles appear the sauce is ready. Add 2 - 3 spoons cooking juice if the sauce seems too thick.
Pour the béchamel sauce over the pasta and meat. Sprinkle with the leftover grated anari and cinnamon over the top. Bake for one and a half hour in a pre-heated oven on 175 degrees.
Serve the macaroni warm or cold, cut in large pieces and accompany the pasta with a green salad or coarsely cut greens like cucumber, celery, green pepper and carrot.
Bon appetit - Καλή μας όρεξη!
Note: the macaroni is easier to cut when it cools down a bit. Minced beef or lamb are also possible to use, but will change the taste and aroma of course, traditionally pork minced is used, I must admit that the pork meat here on the island tastes much better than back home, but do buy it from a good butcher. I like to add paprika powder to the meat just before browning, it smells lovely and colors the meat nicely too! The béchamel can also be prepared in the Kenwood cooking chef (or thermomix) and it becomes very nice and saves time and effort.
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