Lunch / Dinner
Greek Penne Pastitsio
Pastitsio [pah-STEET-see-oh] is a classic Greek baked pasta dish made with a ground lamb tomato sauce that’s kissed with cinnamon. This one has kalamata olives and pepperoncini for unexpected hits of flavor. Then, all that goodness gets topped with a creamy béchamel.
Here, eggs and salty feta cheese help this Greek-style béchamel set up once baked, and it totally completes this incredibly comforting casserole. But a word about the pasta, to prevent the penne from becoming too soft, undercook it before adding it to the meat sauce.
FOR THE CASSEROLE, COOK:
FOR THE BÉCHAMEL, MELT:
Test Kitchen Tip
If lamb isn’t your thing, use ground chuck in it’s place.
Preheat oven to 400°. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
For the casserole, cook penne in a pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes less than package directions; drain.
Heat oil in a skillet over mediumhigh. Add onions and cook until softened, 3 minutes. Add lamb, olives, pepperoncini, garlic, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, and pepper flakes; cook, breaking up chunks of lamb with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 5 minutes.
Deglaze skillet with wine; cook until evaporated, 2 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes. Season sauce with salt and black pepper, stir in penne, then transfer to prepared dish.
For the béchamel, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and garlic; cook 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, then add cloves; simmer until thickened, 5 minutes.
Whisk eggs in a bowl, add ½ cup milk mixture to eggs, then whisk back into milk mixture. Stir in feta and parsley; season béchamel with salt and black pepper. Pour béchamel over penne mixture. Bake pastitsio until bubbly and top is golden, 35–40 minutes; let stand 5 minutes before serving.
After cooking the ground meat, remove some of the drippings if they seem excessive.
So the eggs don’t curdle, temper them by using a small amount of the hot milk to warm them up.
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 44%
Saturated Fat 13g 65%
Cholesterol 118mg 39%
Sodium 637mg 26%
Carbs 39g 13%
Fiber 3g 12%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.