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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Recipe for Beef and Lamb Pastitsio

Oh my!  I try not to be too OTT about recipes but this one is amazing.  I served it to friends and family and everyone loved it, even my friend who is not a fan of lamb (I believe he had seconds).  The original recipe called for all lamb but I wanted to be sure my friend would eat it so I described the recipe to him and we agreed half lamb and half beef would work.  I used local Maui Cattle Company lean ground beef and lean ground lamb. 

The seasonings-nutmeg, oregano, cinnamon, and cloves-give a really unique flavor to the dish.  Go and buy some if you don't have them-they make this Greek version of lasagna so good.  And, bonus, your house will have an amazing smell while you are cooking!

Besides the meat change, I made a few other minor changes from the original Food and Wine recipe (reduced the number of egg yolks, reduced the amount of cheese and olive oil, used part skim ricotta, used multigrain pasta) but stayed pretty true to the recipe.  Even with the changes I made this is still an "Eat Big" recipe, so try to get in some extra walking and watch your calories for the other meals you eat today.  I served this with my "go to" Greek salad which was a nice complement to the pastitsio.

When I make this again, I will use the food processor instead of the blender to mix the cheese and eggs.

Makes 10 hearty servings each approximately 530 calories, 27 grams fat, 41 grams carbs, 3.4 grams fiber,  31 grams protein; 14 WW Points+

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pounds lean ground lamb
3/4 pounds lean ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups jarred marinara sauce
1 pound multigrain penne
2.5 cups part skim ricotta
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the oregano, cinnamon, cloves and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. 

Add in meat and onion and cook until the meat 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 1/2 of the ricotta with the yolks, nutmeg and 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse in the remaining ricotta.

Add the meat ragù 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.

Do you have local meat available to you?  What lamb recipes have you made that were really good?

Printable Recipe

Original Recipe-Greek Baked Pasta from Food and Wine Annual Cookbook, 2010, page 88