It is important to let this dish cool sufficiently before cutting into it, or you will end up with bits and pieces instead of a nice neat serving.
Serves: 8Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 2 hoursDifficulty: Medium
- 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1½ lbs. ground veal
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
- ¼ cup white wine
- 2 cups diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lb. ziti pasta
- ½ cup salted butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups scalded milk
- 1 cup grated Kefalotyri cheese (or Parmesan), divided
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 3 egg yolks, well beaten
- 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray sides and bottom of medium deep baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; sauté onion until soft. Add veal; break up thoroughly. Stir constantly heat 5 minutes or until meat is browned.
- Add rosemary, garlic, wine, tomatoes, salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper; mix well. Bring to boil, add bay leaves, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover, cover slightly ajar to allow excess water to evaporate. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When ready, meat will have absorbed liquid in pan. Remove bay leaves and set sauce aside.
- Bring large pot of water to boil. Add pasta to water; parboil until soft but not fully cooked (about ¾ of suggested cooking time on package).
- While pasta is cooking, make a béchamel sauce: Melt butter in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Using a whisk or immersion blender with a whisk attachment, slowly incorporate flour by briskly whisking; add to melted butter in stages while stirring continually to avoid formation of lumps. Once flour is fully incorporated, slowly add hot milk while continuing to constantly stir butter and flour mixture to ensure smooth consistency. Remove saucepan from heat; add ¾ cup grated cheese, nutmeg, ½ teaspoon pepper, and egg yolks while continuing to rapidly whisk mixture until smooth. Set aside and keep warm.
- Drain pasta and return to pot with remaining olive oil; mix well. Remove pot from heat; let stand for a few minutes to cool. Add egg whites to pasta along with remaining cheese; mix well. Set aside.
- Spread pasta evenly to in prepared baking dish to form bottom layer. Spread meat sauce on top and distribute evenly without gaps. Pour béchamel sauce over entire surface area of dish.
- Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until béchamel sauce is golden brown. Let stand 30 minutes before cutting and serving.