Lamb Pastitso Baked Greek Pasta
• Prep Time: 1 hour • Yields: 10 servings
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Heat oil in a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
3. Add the onion, ground meat and salt, breaking up the meat with a spatula.
4. Cook 10-12 minutes, stirring often, until onions are tender and meat is browned.
5. Drain any fat. Add the red wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes, then add garlic and cinnamon, cumin, oregano and pepper.
6. 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, and set aside.
7. While this is simmering, boil the pasta water and make the béchamel sauce: Heat the oil or butter in a medium pot, over medium heat.
8. Whisk the flour into the oil into a smooth paste and cook, stirring, for 60 seconds.
9. Whisk in 1 cup milk until smooth and thickened, then immediately add the remaining 1½ cups milk and whisk until smooth and thickened again.
10. Add salt, nutmeg, white pepper and parmesan, and stir until cheese melts and sauce is smooth. Set aside and let cool for 10 minutes.
11. Cook the pasta and drain. Once the béchamel has cooled 10 minutes (warm is ok, just not hot), stir in the yogurt and beaten eggs.
12. Add the cooked pasta to the lamb and tomato mixture. Pour into a large greased baking dish (9×13) or 12-inch oven-proof skillet.
13. Top with the béchamel sauce, covering it evenly. Sprinkle with more parmesan and scatter with fresh thyme leaves. Bake 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.