Pastitsio is a Greek version of pasta and meat in casserole. It is basically easy to prepare and very easy to serve. Traditionally topped with a cream sauce, I find it best to omit it. Beef or lamb can be used in the filling.
2 large onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds lean ground lamb or beef
1 can (1 pound 12 ounces) chopped tomatoes in puree
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
3 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon, each, cinnamon and nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
In a Dutch oven casserole, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are transparent. Add the ground meat and cook and stir, crumbling the meat until it is no longer pink. Stir in tomatoes, parsley and seasonings, cover pan and simmer mixture for 15 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly.
Cheese Crumb Mixture:
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese mixed with 1/2 cup stale bread crumbs
1 pound pasta (ziti, penne or other small pasta), cooked in boiling water until tender, but firm and thoroughly drained. Toss with 2 table- spoons olive oil.
In a 9x13-inch baking pan, layer half the meat filling, half the pasta, half the cheese/crumb mixture. Continue layering with the remaining meat, pasta and cheese/crumb mixture. Pat top down to settle the casserole. Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes, or until heated through and top is crusty brown. Serves 8 to 10.
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