I know what you are all thinking. A baked pasta in the summer? Come on, that’s crazy!
But I had been craving this for weeks. Literally. I had an old recipe that my friend Marenna had given me years ago. It was what she called ‘an Americanized version of a traditional favorite’.
She knew I had a love of this dish from her country of origin. I do. I have had it at every Greek restaurant in my area and I have not found anything I like as well as this recipe. I have, of course, tweaked hers a bit, to suit my families tastes. Try it, you will see. It is very close to the original. Best of all I used the ground lamb that I had been given from Superior Farms.
|It was a nice meal to have on the water with grilled Romaine and a glass of white wine|
1 pound of tubular pasta, cooked until Al Dente and drained
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic
2 TB olive oil
3 TB unsalted butter
pinch of salt to sweat the onions
fresh pepper to taste
1 1/2 lb of ground lamb (or 1 pound if you want less meat)
1 14 oz can of tomato sauce, I used Red Gold
2-3 oz of tomato paste, I used…you guessed it- Red Gold
3/4 tsp of dried Turkish Oregano, I used a blend from Penzey’s
1 C of grated Parmesan
8 oz of crumbled Feta cheese
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes.Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.In a large skillet, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil and butter until translucent, about 5 minutes, on medium heat.Add the meat and brown. When cooked, add the tomato sauce and stir to incorporate. Add the tomato sauce and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.Butter a large, deep baking dish. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and move the rack to the middle so the top doesn’t brown too quickly.Add half of the pasta, all of the meat sauce,half of the Feta and Parmesan, the rest of the pasta, all of the bechamel, and the rest of the Parm. and Feta. In orderBake uncovered until the top is browning and the cheeses are melted, about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it as ovens vary.