Pasta and Ground Lamb Casserole (Pastitsio)

From The Best International Recipe

Why this recipe works:

When developing our pastitsio recipe, we began with the lamb and tomato sauce, browning the lamb and then draining the rendered fat to keep the casserole from becoming too greasy. A combination of crushed tomatoes and tomato paste yielded the tomato intensity and saucy texture that we were… read more

When developing our pastitsio recipe, we began with the lamb and tomato sauce, browning the lamb and then draining the rendered fat to keep the casserole from becoming too greasy. A combination of crushed tomatoes and tomato paste yielded the tomato intensity and saucy texture that we were after for our pastitsio recipe. We liked elbow macaroni best, and we cooked it very shy of al dente so that the pasta wouldn’t bake up soft and soggy in the casserole. We tested the béchamel next, and found that the casserole required a surprising amount to keep it moist. Because the quantity was so large, the béchamel had to have good flavor—we enhanced it with onion, garlic, Pecorino cheese, and nutmeg.

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Serves 6 to 8

The baking dish is very full when it goes into the oven. Just in case it overflows, bake it on a foil-lined baking sheet. Do not substitute low-fat or nonfat milk in the sauce.

Ingredients

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