5 tablespoons shredded kasseri or aged white cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
How to Make It
To prepare filling, cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Rinse with cold water; set aside.
Cook beef, onion, and garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned; stir to crumble. Add wine, tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes or until thick.
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare white sauce, place flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk until blended; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; set aside. Combine eggs and egg whites in a large bowl. Gradually add hot milk mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in 1 tablespoon kasseri cheese until blended.
Spread 1 cup beef mixture in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange half of pasta over beef mixture. Top with 1 1/2 cups beef mixture. Repeat layers with remaining pasta and beef mixture. Top with white sauce. Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons kasseri and Romano cheese. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
I have been making this recipe since it was first published. I did find that it was too dry as is, so I have always made 50% more of the filling than called for. The rest of the ingredients, including the white sauce, I have made as in the recipe. This dish has been very popular with my family. I do like the idea of adding more spice to both sauces and may try that next time as another reviewer did.
This recipe has potential, but is not that great as it is written. I looked up a full fat version of this by Ina Garten (in House Beautiful) and seasoned the red sauce via her recipe (cinnamon, nutmeg, oregano, thyme, a pinch of cayenne). I also used red wine in the red sauce. In addition, I added a little nutmeg and black pepper to the white sauce.
In the full fat recipe a lot of cheese is used, so baking it is okay and doesn't dry out the pasta. However, in CL's lower fat version there isn't enough cheese to cover the pasta and keep it safe from drying out from the heat of the oven. I took it out of the oven after 15 minutes for fear of hard pasta and decided to toss it all together in a bowl.
Now, I just have a pasta with white and red sauce mixed together. I'd use more red sauce next time though. The white is a little sweet for me.
I'm giving this 2 stars because I'll eat it, but I had to research other recipes to change it and make it better.
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