Macaroni Pasticcio
INGREDIENTS
  • Cooking Time: 1h15 minutes
  • Servings: 6
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
  • 500g / 1 lb lean beef mince (ground beef)
  • 150ml / approx. 1 cup Marsala or Madeira
  • 2 x 400g / 8 oz cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 500g / 1 lb pack macaroni or other short pasta
  • 2 x 250g / ½ lb tubs mascarpone
  • 50g / about 3 tbsp grated Parmesan
DIRECTIONS
  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the onion, garlic and bacon for 5 minutes. Add the beef mince, stirring with a wooden spoon to break it up, and cook for 3 minutes more. Pour in the Marsala or Madeira and bubble rapidly for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the chopped tomatoes, oregano and some salt and pepper, and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F / gas mark 5. Cook the macaroni in a large pan of boiling, salted water for 10 minutes until just about cooked but still firm in the centre. Drain well, then return to the pan.
  3. Tip half the pasta into the meat sauce, season well and mix together, then turn out into a large ovenproof dish or individual dishes. Stir the mascarpone and Parmesan into the remaining pasta in with 100ml / 3.4 fl oz boiling water from the kettle, stirring until the melted mascarpone coats the pasta.
  4. Spoon the mascarpone-coated pasta into the dish(es). Bake for 20 minutes until the pasta is golden on top.
  5. If making ahead, cool completely, the wrap well in cling film and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost before reheating at 190°C / 375°F / gas mark 5 for 25 minutes until piping hot - cover with kitchen foil if it’s browning too much.
RECIPE BACKSTORY
I found this recipe in an English magazine called Delicious., in their May 2009, Italian Special issue. I thought it was a nice twist to the good ‘ol Pastistio my mom was baking while I was growing up. Ingredients are originally in metric, so the empirical quantities are approximates. Here’s the magazine’s commentary: "Pasticcio is sort of a macaroni lasagne that originates from Greece. It can be quite time-consuming but this is a short-cut version that substitutes the béchamel sauce for a melting mixture of mascarpone and Parmesan. Make double the quantity of the meat sauce and freeze half, then it’ll be really simple to make the dish again another day."