Traditional Cyprus food: Makaronia tou fournou

Makaronia tou fournou, (in Greek for oven-baked macaroni), is a Cypriot version of the well known Greek dish pastitsio. Pastitsio (pronounced \pä-ˈstēt-(ˌ)sō\) is a Greek baked dish made of ground meat layered with “Mezzani A” pasta, topped with white sauce and cheese. For those who have tried to bake pastitsio, you will notice that there are some minor differences between pastitsio and ‘makaronia tou fournou’, as you will soon find out in the recipe that follows.This is a traditional recipe that my mom used to make for makaronia tou fournou. You may think it is difficult, but trust me, it is not. It is very simple, easy to follow, and the result… simply delirious.

  • 500 grams (approx. 1 pound) minced pork meat
  • 1 package (500 grams) Mezzani A pasta (it is the long — spaghetti length — thick pasta)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 200ml tomato juice
  • 1–2 teaspoons cinammon
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lt milk (5 cups)
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons grated halloumi cheese
  • In a non-stick frying pan with 1–2 tablespoons of olive oil cook the onions until soften.
  • Add the minced meat (pork), and cook until browned, stirring often.
  • In the meantime, cook the Mezzani A pasta in boiling salted water (or use chicken broth) for about 10 minutes. Drain and keep warm.
  • Back to our frying pan, when the minced meat is cooked, add the salt and pepper, cinnamon and mix well.
  • Add the tomato juice and the parsley and cook in low-medium heat for about 5–10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, in a separate medium pan, over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil, then add the milk and bring to a boil. Add the flour, stirring often. When it starts to thicken, add the eggs and the halloumi cheese. Stir for another 2–3 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C. In a round baking dish (the one I used was 32cm diameter). Put at the bottom of the baking dish 2/3 of the cooked pasta. Put on top of that the minced meat mixture. Sprinkle with 2–3 tablespoons of grated halloumi cheese. Put on top the remaining 1/3 of the pasta and pour on top the white sauce (bechamel). Sprinkle with 1–2 teaspoons cinnamon and halloumi cheese.
  • Bake for 40 minutes. Let it cool down at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.4
Makaronia tou fournou (photo by the author)