In a big pot put water to boil and the minced meat inside when the water is still cold. Bring it to a boil and strain the meat. It's a rather usual practice in Greece for the meat to be parboiled before cooking.
In a pot (I use big stainless steel ones) add the oil and the meat. Saute for 5-10 minutes on a low heat. Add the finely chopped onion and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Add the chopped garlic. (I take the heart out for a light version and to avoid an unpleasant smell) and the carrots if you decide to use any. Mix well and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Give it time, it has too cook the onion entirely until it's soft.
I don't fry the onion first to avoid fried taste in my final produce. Of course you can also do it the classical way, but it's a more delicate taste this way.
Add one spoon sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 2-3 bay leaves, thime or herbs of your taste (basil / coriander / oregano) but not all of them 🙂
Mix well and add the tomato juice together with one glass of water. Cook for another 20 minutes or until you get the sauce consistency of your choice. By this time, the meat is anyway cooked.
When ready, like in some villages here, I add my piece of feta and I make sure it disolves in my sauce. You don't see it in the final produce, but, trust me, it's something else..
Boil the pasta al dente and strain them keeping a little water from the boiling. Always choose good quality pasta.
Mix 1-2 big spoons of the sauce with the pasta and the water, I also add 2 spoons of mizithra grated cheese at this point. When serving though, add the wanted amount of minced meat sauce on top and extra grated cheese.
We are obsessed with this dish, that's why I rarely cook it. 🙂