Inspired by the classic Greek comfort dish known as pastitsio, this pasta casserole uses fresh and flavorful ingredients.
12 ounces ziti pasta
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 (15-oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable cooking spray
1 (8-oz.) package shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta in a Dutch oven according to package directions.
Meanwhile, sauté onion in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add beef; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until crumbled and no longer pink. Drain mixture, and return to skillet.
Stir tomato sauce, next 4 ingredients, and 1 tsp. salt into meat mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir in Parmesan cheese, pepper, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Add sauce to pasta, stirring to coat.
Transfer pasta mixture to a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with beef mixture, mozzarella cheese, and breadcrumbs.
Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
MAKE IT AHEAD Fix and freeze this dish (unbaked) for a hands-off dinner. Let it stand 30 minutes before baking, and add 15 to 20 minutes in the oven.
I just made this and wow, delicious! I made it exactly as listed with the exception of adding just a tad more flour as mine was not getting thick and bubbly. But this is by far the best baked ziti I've had. My experience with baked ziti is that it tends to be a dry dish. This, however, was very creamy and packed with flavor! This is def a keeper! Thank you for sharing!
Mine wasn't getting thick and bubbly either after 5-7 mins. About 15 mins later, however, it did eventually thicken up well! Of course, it may be a better choice to simply increase the flour to save some time. Thanks for sharing!
This is simply amazing. At first, I thought it was going to be a little too cinnamony, but it turned out well with the pasta mixture. I haven't had a dish this delicious in a while. Will definitely be making again.
We just made this and it is incredible. Anything I altered was only cause I didn't have exactly what it called for: I toasted bread and put it in the blender for bread crumbs, I only had 1can of tomato sauce and 1 15 oz, jar of Caccitore sauce. So, I tossed it in. Amazingly, I had everything else and it is great. Not all that easy for a regular guy like me. But it was a Saturday night and I knew my wife was wanting something good to eat but we didn't want to go out to eat. Thank you for posting this. It was wonderful to us.
I am a great fan of Greek food and this is a wonderfully easy dish with Greek roots. I adjusted the quantity to 2/3 to use only one pound of lean ground beef. Serve it with a village style of cucumbers, tomatoes, onion and feta and you can offer a delicious near-Greek meal that is sure to please. Company worthy but easy enough to do on a weeknight.
I've only recently been cooking for my family and scouring the internet for recipes. My Filipino family is very picky and usually only eats rice dishes and chicken alfredo. It was a hit with them and with me! I followed the directions accordingly and it turned out great! I used a smaller pan (for my small family) and had another pan left over to be frozen. I personally love the cinnamon in the sauce and it does take a while for the cream sauce to thicken so I added 2 tbsp of flour because i'm impatient. I will definitely be making this again!
Although this was good,it didn't really give me the "Greek" taste.i think because I use 1% milk it didn't get the really creamy texture and the cinnamon which I was hesitant to add but did left no discernible flavoring(my spices might have been a bit old )but overall it was delicious.this was my first attempt at a white sauce and I was apprehensive and it took longer than expected to thicken.i think I'll listen to the earlier review and use more flour when I make this again.
I used ground turkey instead of beef. I don't measure unless I have to, so the white sauce was all that I measured. The meal was delish! I think that the recipe is great: as is. You can alter it to your family's tastes. I'll prob add summer squash next time. Be prepared that this is a hands-on recipe, and you will be at the stove for a good portion of the prep. Thanks for sharing!
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