Lyndey and Blair's Taste of Greece
Chris Chen

The meat market was full of whole carcasses, poultry, offal and lots and lots of lamb. The visit made me want to cook for myself and this is one of the famous traditional dishes of Greek cuisine though outside Greece it is a little less well known than its relative, moussaka.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg minced lamb
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
3 cups tomato purée
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
500g macaroni, (see Lyndey's note)
1/2 cup grated kefalotyri or pecorino
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup grated kefalotyri or pecorino, extra

Cheese sauce

Quantity Ingredient
90g butter
1/3 cup plain flour
1 litre milk
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated kefalotyri or pecorino
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Heat a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat and crumble in half of the minced lamb. Cook the lamb until it is well browned and any liquid has evaporated, breaking up any lumps with a fork. Remove the first batch, reheat the frying pan and cook the remaining lamb, then remove from the pan.
  2. Reheat the frying pan, add the oil, then the onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes over a medium heat, add the tomato paste, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine, tomato purée and the browned mince and stir well before adding the nutmeg, sugar, salt, bay leaves and cloves. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30–40 minutes, adding a little water if needed. Once the sauce is cooked, remove the cloves.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 8–10 minutes, or until just tender (check the packet instructions). Drain and set aside to cool slightly. Mix with the kefalotyri and egg.
  4. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium–low heat until it froths. Add the flour and stir for 2 minutes. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to the boil and is thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Add the eggs, kefalotyri and nutmeg and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a deep roasting tin or baking dish with melted butter or oil. Place half of the macaroni over the base of the dish. Spoon half of the meat sauce over the pasta. Repeat the layer of pasta and meat sauce. Pour the cheese sauce over the top, then smooth the surface. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake for 50 minutes. Sprinkle with the extra kefalotyri and bake for a further 20–30 minutes, or until golden. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Lyndey’s note

  • I used long tubes of macaroni, much like the Italian bucatini pasta (hollow spaghetti), though short macaroni works too. What is important is to use pasta with holes through it so it can absorb the cheese sauce.
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