Greek pasta and beef bake

    1 hour 40 minutes

    A healthier version of this family favourite.

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    Serves: 6 

    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (cassia)
    • ½ teaspoon sugar
    • 400g lean beef mince
    • ½ cup dry white wine
    • 400g can no-added-salt diced tomatoes
    • ¼ cup tomato paste
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
    • freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 2½ cups low-fat milk
    • ⅓ cup plain flour
    • 1 egg
    • 2 egg whites
    • 250g reduced-fat cottage cheese
    • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
    • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 250g elbow macaroni or small pasta shapes
    • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

    Preparation:50min  ›  Cook:50min  ›  Ready in:1hour40min 

    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Coat a 10- to 12-cup capacity baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of water to the boil.
    2. To make the meat sauce: heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, cinnamon and sugar and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add mince and brown, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, stir, bring to the boil then simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Stir in parsley and pepper.
    3. To make the macaroni and cheese sauce: in a small bowl, whisk ½ cup of the milk and the flour until smooth. Heat the remaining 2 cups milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Add flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly until sauce bubbles and thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. In a small bowl, blend egg and egg whites with a fork, then gradually whisk into the sauce. Stir in cottage cheese, Swiss cheese, nutmeg and pepper.
    4. Add macaroni to the boiling water and cook, following packet directions, then drain. Transfer to a large bowl, add cheese sauce and toss to coat. Spread half of pasta mixture in the baking dish, then spread meat sauce on top. Top with remaining pasta mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan.
    5. Bake, uncovered, until the top is golden and the casserole is bubbling, 40 to 50 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Leftovers will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Serve with a mixed-leaf salad.

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