Friday, August 21, 2009

Greek Casserole

The other night before the fridge collapsed and died in front of us, I went grocery shopping. I came home with bags and bags of stuff to get us through about 10 days. Sadly, we lost a lot of that food. However, I did manage to squeak out one amazing recipe. This is a keeper and I look forward to making it again!

Greek Pastitsio
with "meatloaf" mix instead of lamb (I don't like lamb!)

Brown the ground meat. Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon. Add some onions, red wine and tomato paste. Simmer and bubble until delicious.

Mix the ground meat mixture with cooked pasta, in this instance I used ziti. Tubular pasta would be best.

Keep the pasta mixture in an oven proof dish. I used my Dutch oven. Top the pasta with a cheesey, cream B├ęchamel sauce.

Bake until golden brown and delicious.

Serve hot! Enjoy.

A quick note, I cut the recipe in half. That was enough for two people to have two hefty servings each and I believe there was one left over for lunch the next day. Also, as noted, I used a package of "meatloaf" mix from the store (beef, pork and veal). This worked great and had a wonderful flavor. If you don't like lamb, try it. Also, I'm sure you could use ground turkey, chicken, beef...whatever. It's a great dish and versatile.

from Everyday Food

This is the ultimate Greek comfort food, a hearty casserole of cinnamon-spiked ground lamb baked with penne and a Parmesan cheese sauce.

Serves 8

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound penne, cooked and drained
2 pounds ground lamb
2 medium onions, diced
1/2 cup red wine
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 TB butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
3 cups milk
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta, and drain; reserve. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, over medium heat, cook lamb, breaking apart pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Transfer to a colander; drain fat, and discard. Return lamb to pan; add wine. Cook over medium heat until almost all liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in tomato paste, cinnamon, and 2 cups water; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (***This step only took about 3-5 minutes, I probably had the heat too high, but there were no adverse yourself the time, when the mixture has thickened, move need to force it to simmer for 20 minutes!)

4. Make Parmesan Cheese Sauce while mixture is simmering: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; whisk in flour until incorporated, about 30 seconds. In a slow steady stream, whisk in milk until there are no lumps.

5. Cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick and bubbly and coats the back of a wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in cayenne, if desired, and Parmesan.

6. Add pasta to lamb mixture; transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour sauce over the top, smoothing with the back of a spoon until level. Bake until browned in spots, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool 15 minutes before serving.


Faye said...

I saw this on Everyday Food and it made me drool---but your pictures are even yummier! I think I'll have to make it...

DancerInDC said...

This was delicious - but it would be really good with lamb! I'm just saying.

The Kara said...

I had this in Greece and it was one of THE BEST MEALS EVER! We were stuck in a little town waiting for a bus and wound up going to a restaurant where we were the only people there. The Mama invited us back to the kitchen, we pointed and this is what we got - heaven, heaven I tell you!