Pasta and Meat Gratin

Tortino di Maccheroni con Carne

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

Sephardic Flavors: Jewish Cooking of the Mediterranean

Sephardic Flavors

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 2000

  • About

In her book The Sephardic Kosher Kitchen, Suzy David calls this same dish mussaka de macarons. In the cookbook from Temple Or Ve Shalom in Atlanta, Georgia, it is named maccaron reinado. Keeping with the spirit of a classic moussaka, a layer of sautéed eggplant slices can be added. Simply fry the slices in oil or bake them in the oven until soft, and then arrange them on top of the meat layer. In traditional Greek cooking, this dish is known as pastitsio. This version comes from a Sephardic menu in Le feste ebraiche.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound macaroni
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef or veal, or a mixture
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (optional)
  • 5 eggs
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup tomato sauce, heated (optional; see eggplant rolls with tomato sauce)

Method

Bring a large pot filled with salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain well and set aside in a bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F Oil a 9-by-12-inch baking dish.

Warm 3 tablespoons of the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the meat and salt and pepper to taste and sauté until the meat is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, if using, stir well, and remove from the heat. Mix in 2 of the eggs. Add the parsley. Whisk the remaining 3 eggs until blended and then stir them into the pasta.

Spread half of the pasta in the bottom of the prepared dish and top with all of the meat mixture. Arrange the remaining pasta over the top. Drizzle the remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil evenly over the top.

Bake the gratin until golden on the surface, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve directly from the dish. If desired, pass the tomato sauce at the table.

Variation

Melt 3 tablespoons margarine in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk in 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, then gradually add cups meat stock, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes, and remove from the heat. Whisk 3 eggs until blended, then whisk in about ½ cup of the hot sauce. Whisk the egg mixture into the remaining sauce. Omit the 3 eggs added to the cooked pasta. Layer the gratin as follows: half of the pasta, one-third of the sauce, all of the meat mixture, half of the remaining sauce, the remaining pasta, and finally the remaining sauce. Bake as directed.