Sunday, May 4, 2008


We have been wanting to make this since we saw it on Everyday Food on PBS a couple of months ago.  We have never heard of Pastitsio before -- it reminds me of a pasta version of moussaka.  We finally made it today and it is delicous.  We used rotini instead of penne.


1 pound penne, cooked and drained
2 pounds ground lamb
2 medium onions, diced
1/2 cup red wine
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Cook pasta and drain; reserve.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, over medium heat, cook lamb, breaking apart pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 6-8 minutes.  Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a colander and drain out the fat.  Return lamb to pan; add wine.  Cook over medium heat until almost all liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste, cinnamon, and 2 cups of water; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thicken, 15-20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Make mornay 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.  Cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick and bubbly and coasts the back of a wooden spoon, 6-8 minutes.  Stir in cayenne if using, and Parmesan.
  4. Add pasta to lamb mixture; transfer to 9x13-inch baking dish.  Pour sauce over top, smoothing with the back of a spoon until level.  Bake until browned in spots, 35-40 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven; let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.
From Everyday Food on PBS.

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