A humble party favorite goes to university and becomes
		a bit more sophisticated.  If you like this, the Snotty
		Chef's Moussaká will be irresistable.

							About 7-8 qts

	INGREDIENTS (in order of use):

	6         TBS olive oil, flavorful (or more, with lean beef)
	2-4        @  small Turkish bay leaf
	4          @  cloves garlic, minced (See Method steps #3, #11)
	4          @  shallots, minced
	4         lbs round beef steak, chuck or (?) ground

	In a small bowl:
	1/2 - 1   tsp cinnamon (cassia bark), ground
	1   - 3   tsp cinnamon (cinnamonum verum), ground

	1/2 - 1   tsp oregano (Use Greek oregano if possible)
	1/8 - 1/4 tsp marjoram, dried, ground
	1/4 - 1/2 tsp cumino, ground [optional variation]
	1   - 2   TBS sweet paprika, generous
	1         TBS beef bouillon, powder
	1         tsp freshly ground pepper
	1         tsp salt

	2 - 3      @  onions, cut in thin crescents
	1/2 - 1   cup carrot, grated (a mellower, better than sugar)
	2         TBS Cocktail Sherry, white or red wine
	2         TBS Metaxá or Brandy
	3         cup tomato purée

	4         TBS tomato paste, mixed with
	1         cup arbitrary mixture water & dry red wine,
			or even Mavrodaphne - not retsina

		If using Dreamfields elbows, use an additional
		cup of liquid; a beef broth is good, so is chicken
		broth or water with a little more wine, depending on
		the wine.

	1/2 - 3/4 cup parsley, chopped
	1/2 - 1   tsp lemon zest, grated
	1          @  lemon, juice of (about 2-4 TBS)
	2         tsp onion powder
	1         tsp garlic powder
	1         tsp tarragon, dried, crushed

	12        oz  elbow macaroni (16 oz. to stretch)
	2         TBS butter

	For the Custard:
	8         TBS butter (lightly salted kind)
	1/4       tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
	1/2       tsp white or black pepper, ground finely
	8         TBS (rounded) all purpose flour
	6         cup milk, warmed
	1 1/2     cup heavy cream, cold, not warmed
	8          @  eggs, jumbo, beaten smooth with a whisk
	2         cup freshly grated kefalotiri, kasseri
		  or parmesan cheese

	A LARGE skillet
	A four quart saucepan
	A medium sized pasta pot

	[cooking separately: meat sauce, elbows and cheese custard]

	1. Preheat Oven to 350, and prepare covered cassrole(s) to
	   accomodate the 7 qts of mixture by greasing them.

	2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over a  medium high
	   heat, adding the bay leaves, and swirling the oil.

	3. When the bay leaves begin to brown, add the garlic and shallots,
	   stirring until they just start to brown. [You can instead delay
	   adding the garlic to step 11 with the lemon.]

	4. Add the beef, and stir until the meat looses its pinkness,
	   (no browning) and then,

	5. Stir in the cinnamon, oregano, marjoram, cumino, paprika,
	   black pepper, salt and bouillon, collected in the bowl.
	   Stir for at least 1 minute.

	6. Add onions and carrot and mix well.

	7. Add the TBSs of wine and brandy, stirring until the alcohol
	   is mostly evaported, by the sniff of cupped hand test.
	   This should handle any pan deglazing that may or may not
	   have become necessary.

	8. Add the tomato purée, mixing into all, following with the
	   water/wine & tomato paste mixture, and bring to bubbling.

	9. Lower the temperature of the skillet to a very gentle simmer,
	   for about 20 minutes, leaving uncovered while the pasta and
	   custard are prepared.  This cooking period is specifically
	   so that the sauce will thicken and the onions will be soft.
	   Crunchy onions are nice, but not here.  When they are soft,
	   remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool.

	10. Cook the elbows according to the direction on the package
	    shorting the cook time by about 2 minutes.  Use some salt,
	    but not as much as you would usually.  Drain the elbows,
	    but not excessively, and immediately toss with 2 TBS butter.

	11. When the meat and sauce is simmered (This would be a good
	    time to check salt, and adjust.), you will have made all
	    that is necessary for what a Greek cook would call the
	    "saltsa kima", but we will go a little further: stir into
	    the merely warm sauce, the chopped parsley, lemon juice,
	    lemon zest, onion & garlic powders and tarragon - also the
	    chopped garlic, if you have delayed this at the beginning.

	    Combine meat sauce & par cooked pasta, and distribute
	    into the prepared cassarole(s), making the surface reasonably
	    smooth and level so the bottom meat and elbows are sealed
	    off against the custard top, especially at the edges, which
	    will be still quite a liquid when it is added.

	    Remember to leave plenty of room for the custard on top; we
	    use more custard here than is customary.

	12. To prepare the custard topping, melt the 8 TBS of butter in
	    at least a four quart saucepan, over a moderate heat, adding
	    the nutmeg and pepper to the butter as it melts.  They should
	    froth for about 15 seconds.  That is also a visual for the
	    right temperature.  We will be making a white roux.

	13. Add the flour, whisking, and cook the flour in the butter, with
	    much stirring for about 5 minutes.  This cooking time will
	    eliminate any raw starch taste from the sauce, as well,
	    bring out the flavors of nutmeg and pepper, and add a slight
	    pepper tang.  Cooking ground black/white pepper in oil always
	    does this.

	    Remove the roux from heat, cover and allow to cool for
	    at least 10-15 minutes.

	14. Whisk the mixture with reasonable intensity while
	    adding the warmed milk a few TBS at a time, at first whisking
	    these in fully before adding more.  There will be no rapid
	    thickening, and we do not want flour lumps in the sauce.  An
	    appropriate electric mixing device is very helpful here.
	    With the milk completely incorporated, return the "what will
	    become a thin béchamel sauce" to a moderate heat, stirring and
	    scraping constantly as it thickens.  Remove from heat, stir
	    in the cream, cover and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.

	15. Now, whisk in the beaten eggs, and gently ladle the sauce
	    mixture into the cassarole(s), apportioning appropriately.

	16. Again, proportionately, evenly distribute the grated cheese
	    over the surface of the sauce.  It will sink into the sauce,
	    and become suspended in it as it melts, and the sauce becomes
	    a baked custard from the thickening by the eggs.  If you like,
	    decorate with some random paprika sprinklings - or make
	    erotic paprika paintings, depending on your audience.

	17. Bake covered for 30-60 mins, depending on the sizes of the
	    cassaroles.  Allow to firm for at least 5 minutes before
	    serving.  Served simply warm is better than served piping
	    hot anyhow.

	    Why not just have a Greek salad and some Red wine with it?

	18. Yes, this keeps well refrigerated after cooking, and will reheat
	    very nicely in sliced serving portions in a microwave, gently,
	    or covered in oven, again gently of course, at about 200°F -

	    On reheating, it will lose a bit of its fragrant edge: nothing
	    terrible, but enough to be discernable to the educated nose and
	    palate.  If this is your intended operation, definitely
	    use the upper levels of the spice and herb amounts.


	0. Note that Pastitsio is a dish reminiscent of, and less
	   expensive than Moussaká, which exists in so many variations
	   thoughout the middle east that it is difficult to say:
	   where the word comes from (probably Arabic), what the word
	   actually means, and what the defining characteristics are.
	   The etymology of Pastitsio is thankfully a little easier: a
	   variatous dish made with pasta (which is a thing made with
	   some sort of paste).  Is that not perfectly clear?

	1. Pastitsio is a customary Greek party dish that stretches the
	   beef with lots of pasta, and creates interest with the simple
	   and unusual aromatic combination of cinnamon and oregano.
	   Pasta is a bit of a treat for me since I do not dare eat much
	   of it.  This incarnation of Pastitsio keeps the carbohydrate
	   content to a minimum, so do not look for it to "stretch the
	   meat".  The other difference between this version and most
	   others is that it is not at all stingy with the cheese custard
	   topping, just about doubling what is ordinarily used.

	   This is not only serious food, it is serious cuisine:

	   The garden variety Pastitsio but for its major fragrant interest
	   has almost a rustic simplicity to it, without garlic, shallot,
	   wine, brandy, and several other ingredients used here.  While
	   a possible criticism of this version is that it seems to have
	   become Frenchified, the techniques and ingredients are all
	   typically Greek, so no whining about lack of authenticity.
	   The Snotty Chef has spoken.

	2. The center of interest in the flavor of Pastitsio is the
	   perfect balance of oregano and cinnamon.  You may want to
	   consider the ages and potencies of both of these to tweak
	   the amounts given here for that balance.  Achieved aright,
	   the two flavors/aromas should merge into one, so that neither
	   one dominating the other gives the illusion of a single

	3. Often it is said to make alternate layers of meat and pasta.
	   We find this to have a propensity to create layers of gummy
	   pasta, and so our suggestion is to mix the two so that the
	   flavors of the meat and sauce cook into the pasta and to
	   eliminate any gumminess of pasta that is cooked without the
	   proper amount of liquid.  In the baking process, the pasta
	   will swell a bit as it absorbs water from the meat sauce,
	   firming up the meat body.  It is unlikely, however, that
	   this will ever be servable by cutting, except after
	   refrigeration, and so it should be served as most
	   structured cassaroles using a large, flatish serving
	   spoon when still warm.

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