My Goals & Discoveries
Savory, spiced meat sauce
Treating ground beef with baking soda helps it stay moist. Cinnamon, oregano, dried mint, and paprika make its flavor distinctly Greek. Red wine plus lots of tomato paste add brightness and savoriness.
Neat rows of noodles
Parcooking ziti (the closest substitute for Greek macaroni) before assembling and baking ensures that the pasta cooks through in the oven and holds its shape enough to sit in stacked formation.
We use a portion of the béchamel to bind the ziti and then thicken the rest of it by whisking in cheese and an egg until it’s spreadable. Sprinkling more cheese over the top encourages the surface to brown.
Parcooking the pasta in the hot béchamel hydrates it just enough to ensure that it will be fully cooked after baking. At the same time, the pasta leaches starches that help thicken the béchamel.