Φαινομενικά Mακαρονάθα και Κρεμμύδια / Phenomenal Spaghetti and Onions

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Make no mistake, eating this dish is a phenomenal experience. This is a dish of the simple folk, the Greeks that had limited money to spend on food. But this is a culinary marvel, comfort food for us as children, cementing our lifelong love for sautéed onions.

99351E1F-2697-4FE6-958C-657DEF90CF21Lots of onions!

Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients:

1 pound spaghetti (NOT angel hair, not ziti, not rigatoni . . . Just spaghetti)

1/2 pound butter (Not margarine)

5 large onions, cut into thick slivers not cubes (I prefer sweet yellow onions like Vidalia.)

3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

 

01E09300-EA96-4B65-A2A4-4D13C1CE2032Instructions:

Boil pasta in salted water until it reaches the al dente stage.

In the meantime, sauté onions in 2 tablespoons of the butter.

Add salt and sugar to onions as they caramelize. Onions are done when they are transparent and some of them are golden brown. Set aside.

Drain cooked spaghetti into a colander. If it wants to stick together, rinse it with just a bit of water.

Place the rest of the butter in the pan you cooked the spaghetti in. Sprinkle with salt and cook until it turns golden brown. Do not let it scorch.

Remove from heat and add spaghetti as you toss it gently to distribute butter evenly. It will sizzle when you dump it into the pan, so be ready to toss.

Add parmesan and toss to distribute, adding salt and pepper to taste.salt and pepper to taste.

Rewarm the onions if necessary and pour them into the pasta. Toss to mix.

Enjoy!

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Παστίτσιο / Pastitsio

Pasta:
1 pound dry ziti pasta or elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 dash ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 stick butter

Meat Sauce:
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon Cavendars Greek Seasoning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Bechamel Sauce:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Melt 1/2 stick butter. Add salt to pan and cook until scorched. Add pasta, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, pepper and toss well; allow to cool. Add eggs and toss again; set aside.

To make meat sauce: Gently fry onion and garlic in olive oil in a skillet until onion is soft. Increase heat and add ground beef, Oregano and Cavendars, stir well. Cook until meat begins to brown. Add tomato paste, wine, broth, parsley, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

To make bechamel sauce: Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour and cook gently for 2 minutes. Pour in milk all at once and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil gently for 1 minute. Add nutmeg, salt, pepper and cool slightly before stirring in beaten eggs. Transfer 1/2 cup of this sauce to the meat sauce.
To assemble pastitsio: Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Spoon a very thin layer of meat sauce in the bottom. Add half of the prepared pasta and spread evenly over the meat. Top with remaining a meat sauce. Top that with remaining pasta. Pour on cream sauce and spread to completely cover pasta. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Bake in a preheated oven for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.