I love Greek food. My husband is Lebanese, which is culturally very similar to Greek. Meaning, their traditional food is very similar as well. His family always includes at least a couple delicious Lebanese dishes at holidays and get-togethers.
When most Americans think of Greek food, we think of gyros, baklava, pitas, and hummus. This casserole kind of steps outside that box and introduces another Greek food you might not have heard of before. I know I had never heard of pastitsio, but when I found this recipe, I knew I would love it. I’m pretty much a sucker for pasta dishes!
This casserole turned out great. The creamy sauce and the melted cheese was the perfect accompaniment for pasta. It was also fairly easy to put together and took maybe 30-40 minutes to cook. However, beware of the size of your skillet! It starts out with just a pound of meat and some onions, but eventually you add lots more ingredients, and my skillet was just baaaaaarely able to fit it all. And I may or may not have splashed a little onto my hot stove eye while I was stirring. Just sayin.
- 12 oz. penne pasta
- 1 lb. ground turkey or ground sirloin
- 1 ½ c. yellow or white onion, chopped (from 1 large onion)
- 1 ¾ tsp. salt, divided
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 T. all-purpose flour
- 8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese
- 2 c. low-fat milk
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 2 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Coat a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat the broiler.
- In a large pot of lightly salted, boiling water, cook the penne pasta according to package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add beef or turkey to the pan with the diced onions and 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook, stirring to crumble the meat, until cooked through. Drain excess grease from the meat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, another minute or so.
- Sprinkle flour over the meat mixture, stirring to combine, and cook for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add the cream cheese in pieces, scattering it over the meat. Let it melt into the meat and stir to combine.
- Whisk or stir in the milk, nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and tomatoes. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook 5-6 minutes until the mixture is slightly thickened and is thoroughly heated through.
- Stir in the pasta and spoon mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the pasta and broil for about 3-5 minutes (watching carefully so it doesn’t burn).
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parsley. Let it stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
Source: I Heart Eating