04/24/03 07:36 AM
Pastitsio - Greek baked pasta casserole...

Hi all - New recipe from Mello's Test Kitchen...I made it last night for dinner and it was pretty good, but it probably needs a zipping up with all the changes I made. Here it is:

This baked pasta casserole is probably one of the most recognizable Greek dishes on restaurant menus (moussaka is a similar dish but substitutes sliced eggplant for the pasta).

3 c reduced fat (2%) milk - I used Basmati rice milk
I1/4 c cornstarch
3 large eggs lightly beaten - I used 3 Egg Beaters
8 tbsp grated parmesan cheese - I used soy parmesan
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 lb spaghetti
1 tbsp olive oil - I used 1 tsp
1 onion, chopped
3/4 lb lean ground sirloin - I used Yves Mexican Soy meat OR use lean ground turkey or chicken
1 lb plum tomatoes chopped (2 c) - used 15 oz can stew tom drained
2 garlic cloves - I used 4...maybe 5 or 6!
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 7x11 baking dish with nonstick spray, set aside.

2. To make the white sauce, combine the milk, constarch and eggs in lg saucepan. Cook over low-med heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in 6 tbsp parmesan, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/8 tsp pepper and nutmeg. Cover and set aside.

3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add spaghetti and cook according to pkg directions. Drain and set aside.

4. To make filling, heat a lg nonstick skillet or Dutch oven over med hi heat. Swirl the oil, then add the onion and cook stirring occasionally until the onion is softened. Add the meat and cook breaking it up with a wooden spoon until browned. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, cinnamon and remaining 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Cook stirring often until liquid from tomatoes evaporates.

5. Arrange half the cooked spaghetti in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with the meat filling, then top that with the remaining spaghetti. Spread the white sauce evenly over the spaghetti. Sprinkle sauce with remaining 2 tbsp parmesan. Bake until top is golden, 30-35 minutes. Cool at least 5 min before serving.

NOTE: I would add some mushrooms with the onion to saute and maybe 1 can (8 oz.) of tomato sauce to the meat mixture.

ANOTHER NOTE: This white sauce probably could be used for an Alfredo recipe with some minor changes. And since I'm not an Alfredo fan, I don't know what those changes would be.

ONE MORE NOTE: This white sauce would probably be good over veggies, too!

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