Pastitsio! A delicious Greek inspired, baked pasta dish made with penne pasta, lamb bolognese and a béchamel sauce.
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 2 ½ cups whole milk
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ cup plain greek yogurt
- 2 extra large eggs, beaten
parmesan for sprinkling
Garnish : 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Start the lamb bolognese: heat oil in a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion, ground meat and salt, breaking up the meat with a metal spatula. Cook 10-12 minutes, stirring often until onions are tender and meat is browned. Drain any fat. Splash with the red wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes, then add garlic and cinnamon, cumin, oregano and pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Stir in crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer on low heat, covered, for 20 minutes. Taste, add more salt if you like.
Preheat oven to 400 F
While this is simmering, boil the pasta water and make the béchamel sauce. Heat the oil in a medium pot, over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the oil into a smooth paste and cook for 60 seconds. Whisk in 1 cup milk until smooth and thickened, then immediately, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk and whisk until smooth and thickened again. Add salt, nutmeg, white pepper and parmesan, and stir until cheese melts and sauce is smooth. Set aside and let cool for 10 minutes.
Cook the pasta and drain.
Once the béchamel has cooled 10 minutes ( warm is ok, just not hot), stir int the yogurt and beaten egg.
Add the cooked pasta to the Bolognese sauce and mix. Pour into a large greased baking dish (9×13) or 12 inch oven proof skillet. Top with the béchamel sauce covering it evenly. Sprinkle with ½ cup more parmesan and scatter with fresh thyme leaves. Bake 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
- Serving Size: 1.5 cups
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