Greek Baked Pasta
Recipe from Food & Wine

The moist and fragrant casserole pastitsio combines bechamel (a sauce of butter, flour and milk), pasta, ground lamb, tomato sauce, cheese, cinnamon and nutmeg. Instead of bechamel, Grace Parisi stirs a ricotta mixture into the pasta before baking it.

Greek Baked Pasta
Yunhee Kim

by 23  people

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Servings: 6
Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
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  • 2   tablespoons 
    extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2  pounds 
    lean ground lamb
  • 1   
    onion, finely chopped
  • 1   teaspoon 
    dried oregano, crumbled
  • 3/4  teaspoon 
    Pinch of ground cloves
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3   cups 
    jarred marinara sauce
  • 1   pound 
    ziti or penne
  • 3   cups 
    fresh ricotta (1 1/2 pounds)
  • 4   
    large egg yolks
  • 1/2  teaspoon 
    ground nutmeg
  • 3/4  cup 
    freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the lamb, onion, oregano, cinnamon, cloves and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until the lamb is no longer pink and any liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a boil. Boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.
Cook the pasta until barely al dente; drain and return to the pot. Meanwhile, in a blender, blend 2 cups of the ricotta with the yolks, nutmeg and 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse in the remaining ricotta.
Add the lamb ragu to the pasta and toss. Transfer the pasta to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour the ricotta mixture on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, until heated through. Turn the broiler on and broil until the top is golden brown. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

The baked pasta can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve hot.
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