This dish can be made with ground beef, ground lamb, or a combination of both. It's a great way to serve noodles and a fabulous comfort food that is especially tasty when made in advance. Serve with a salad and some bread.
In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook a minute more.Add the ground meat and break it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until the moisture has evaporated and the meat is browned, about 15 minutes. Stir in mint, oregano, thyme, and cinnamon. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the canned tomatoes and their juices and bring to a simmer. Cook until flavors merge, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to a simmer. In another sauce pan, make a roux by melting butter over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the butter until a golden paste forms, about 2 minutes.Slowly whisk the warmed milk into the roux and cook, stirring often, until the sauce is thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in ¼ tsp nutmeg, 1 cup grated cheese, and adjust seasoning.
Cook pasta in salted boiling water for 2 minutes less than package's instructions for al dente. Drain and pour cooked pasta into baking dish. Drizzle ½ cup béchamel over the pasta and gently mix together with 2 cups meat sauce. Spread the remaining meat sauce in a layer over mixed pasta and then layer remaining béchamel over that. Sprinkle remaining grated cheese on top.
Bake and Serve
To catch any dripping, place baking dish in oven on top of a baking pan covered in parchment paper. Bake until top becomes golden and begins to bubble, about 25 minutes or more. Let rest for 10 minutes then serve.
The meat sauce can be made a few days in advance and refrigerated or frozen for a month or more and defrosted before using.
Any leftovers can be cut into squares and frozen to eat later. They can be quickly defrosted and cooked in the microwave.