BAKED PASTITSIO WITH EGGPLANT AND LAMB (Greek, with feta cheese, for six to eight)

Pasta, macaroni, Greek pastitsio with eggplant and lamb 1 Pasta, macaroni, Greek pastitsio with eggplant and lamb 4

For the lamb sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 pound lean, ground lamb (or rare leftover lamb, any crust or coating removed, diced fine)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes

one 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree

For the cheese sauce:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

1 garlic clove

1 whole clove

½ pound feta, crumbled (about 1-1/2 cups)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 large eggs

For the pasta:

10 ounces (3-1/2 cups) maccheroni or penne

1. Make the lamb sauce. Heat the oil in a 4 quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add lamb, increase heat to moderately high and cook, stirring and breaking up any lumps, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

2. Add garlic, oregano, cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in eggplant and tomatoes, cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until eggplant if just tender, about 40 minutes.

3. Remove lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

4. Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 425*.

5. Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce and cook the pasta. Melt butter in a 2 quart, heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes to make a roux. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Add garlic and clove, reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add feta, salt and pepper and cook, whisking vigorously, until cheese is well incorporated. Remove from heat and discard garlic and clove.

6. Beat eggs in a 6 quart bowl. Gradually add sauce to eggs, whisking constantly.

7. Cook pasta in a 6 quart pot of boiling, salted water (1 tablespoon salt per every 4 quarts water) until just al dente, about 10 minutes, and drain.

8. Toss half of pasta with lamb sauce and half with cheese sauce.

9. Assemble the pastitsio. Pour pasta with lamb sauce into a shallow 3 quart baking dish, spreading it evenly. Spoon pasta with cheese sauce on top, spreading it evenly.

10. Bake pastitsio, uncovered, until bubbling and top is golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

NOTE: The lamb sauce and cheese sauce can be made up to 1 day ahead, cooled completely, and refrigerated, covered.

from The Gourmet Cookbook

Leave a Reply