Stellini Pasta Gratin with Meat Sauce

This hearty Stellini Pasta Gratin combines tender pasta with a rich, flavorful meat sauce and a creamy cheese topping, perfect for a satisfying family dinner. Here’s how to make it:


  • 500g Stellini pasta (or any small pasta like macaroni or shells)
  • 50g butter
  • 15g flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 100g hard mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 700g minced meat (beef, pork, or a combination)
  • 200g tomato sauce
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Dried ground nutmeg, to taste
  • Meat seasoning, to taste


  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Set your oven to 180°C (350°F) to preheat while you prepare the ingredients.
  2. Cook the Pasta:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Stellini pasta and cook until just al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. Prepare the Meat Sauce:
    • Heat some vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic, sautéing until they become translucent.
    • Add the minced meat, breaking it up with a spatula. Cook until browned. Season with salt, meat seasoning, and a pinch of nutmeg.
    • Stir in the tomato sauce and simmer for a few minutes until the flavors meld together.
  4. Make the Béchamel Sauce:
    • In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir for about a minute to cook the flour without letting it brown.
    • Gradually pour in the milk, whisking continuously to prevent lumps. Keep whisking until the sauce thickens.
    • Add half of the grated mozzarella cheese into the béchamel sauce and stir until the cheese melts. Season with salt and nutmeg.
  5. Combine and Layer:
    • In a large baking dish, spread a layer of the cooked pasta. Pour the meat sauce over the pasta and then cover with the béchamel sauce. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top.
  6. Bake:
    • Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.
  7. Serve:
    • Remove the gratin from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before serving. This permits the layers to solidify slightly, facilitating the serving process. Add fresh herbs such as parsley if preferred, and serve while hot.


This Stellini Pasta Gratin is a delicious way to end any day, combining the comforting textures of creamy sauce, tender pasta, and savory meat under a golden cheesy topping. It’s a dish that offers both the nostalgia of a family classic and the hearty satisfaction of a well-made gratin. Enjoy sharing this meal with your family or friends!