How to make it

  • For Meat Sauce:
  • In a Dutch oven, in hot oil over medium heat, sauté the onion until tender and just begins to turn golden. Add ground beef and brown, then the tomato paste and saute a few more minutes. Add remaining sauce ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1-2 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt, if necessary. Can be made 1-2 days ahead of time ( it tastes better that way!)
  • For Bechamel Sauce:
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the half & half to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg, whisk in cheese and set aside until ready to use.
  • Boil pasta according to directions (just until al dente). note: Do not over cook the pasta because it will be baked as well and you don't want it to be mushy.
  • To assemble: toss cooked pasta with meat sauce and pour into a buttered baking dish. Pour bechamel sauce over the top and sprinkle with extra cheese. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and broil for a few minutes until golden on top.

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