18 March 2010

Macaroni tou Fournou

Translation: baked macaroni or macaroni of the oven

This dish was one of the first dishes I remember having at my fiance's house. It is a little bit like lasagne in that it is a layered dish with pasta and a meat sauce, but not quite. The meat is spiced with mint and cinnamon and it is all topped with a creamy, cheesy, egg mixture. I think this dish is much more of a Cypriot dish than a standard Greek dish and really quite unlike anything I have ever had. It's wonderful and really tasty and you should probably try some soon.

The recipe I used was originally from the Greek Cypriot cookbook I have, but after reviewing the recipe, I realised it really didn't follow what I know it should taste like. So what is below is a hybrid recipe of the cookbook and my fiance's mother's recipe for macaroni tou fournou.

I halved my hybrid recipe because I have a deep oval dish instead of a large, deep, square dish. If you have a normal lasagne dish, then double this recipe.

Take one pound or 500 grams of mince meat and add it to a pot with a little bit of oil until browned.

Mmmm, block o'meat.

Then dice half an onion and add it to the meat.

Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 teaspoons mint to the meat mixture. It's a little odd for me to add these two, traditionally associated with sweet food, spices to meat but they somehow make the meat seem less heavy and gives it a refreshing taste.

Action shot!

Add 3/4 of a can of chopped tomatoes. The tomatoes should add a little bit to the meat but not enough to overpower the flavor.

Let the meat mixture cook together for about 15 minutes. You might need to add a touch of water so it doesn't stick.

While this is cooking, boil some water for the noodles. The pasta that is traditionally used for this dish are long hollow tubes which can be bought at a Greek food store. If one of those isn't handy, then penne or other hollow pasta will work.

Look, there's even a picture of macaroni tou fournou on the front!

After everything is cooked, then it is time to layer. This dish is supposed to have a layer of pasta, then the meat mixture, then the rest of the noodles.

I had to curve mine on account of the oval dish.

For the topping, it is basically a white sauce with some cheese and eggs. Melt 1/3 cup butter then add 3/4 cup of flour.

Gradually pour in 2 pints of milk, stirring constantly. (fuzzy pictures here) When the sauce has thickened, add 2 beaten eggs, stirring constantly. Finally, add 4 oz grated cheddar cheese.

This is the main bit that holds it all together and should end up being about half an inch thick. I really didn't make enough for this batch though it still had the right taste.

Pour this cream mixture over the top of the layered pasta, making sure to cover everything.

I sprinkled some mint on top for added ... design. And taste. Yeah.

Cook in a 200 degree C/400 degree F oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

You should let this dish cool considerably before cutting as it will congeal together better after cooled and make nice neat squares. However, I was hungry and so I cut into it immediately and this is what I got instead.

Oh well. It still tasted as it should, even if it didn't look too good.


  1. Mmmmmm yummy :)

    Food is all about how it tastes, and this sits really well.

  2. Looks delicious Elizabeth, think I'll make some too, Makaroni is one of my favourite dishes, only problem with it is that you need to use several dishes. I didn't relish making it when I had a smaller hob. It's a lot easier now with my large oven. Mum in law to be xx

  3. That sounds awesome! Since I'm on a diet (I know, a terrible thing for any cook/chef to hear) I wonder if I can make some substitutions and still have it. Really, I'm a sucker for cinnamon meat and mint is an added treat!

  4. This pastitsio looks very tasty. All the steps where very well executed. Try to make a bit more cream for topping next time. You will love it!