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Oxmoor House Photo by: Oxmoor House


Another option for preparing this Greek-inspired dish is to cook it in individual gratin dishes. Simply layer 1/3 cup noodles, 2/3 cup meat sauce, another 1/3 cup noodles, 1/4 cup white sauce, and 2 tablespoons cheese in each of 6 gratin dishes and bake for 12 minutes. Individual dishes can be frozen for up to 2 weeks and hold 2 servings each.

Oxmoor House JANUARY 2005

  • Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1/12 of casserole)
  • Cook time: 59 Minutes
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes
  • Other: 20 Minutes


  • 1 pound ground round
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 4 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 14 black peppercorns
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons light butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Cooking spray


Cook beef, onion, and carrot in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well; return meat mixture to pan. Add tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and next 4 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 28 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

Combine milk and next 3 ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 10 minutes. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Set milk mixture aside.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour, stirring well with a whisk. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk mixture, stirring well with a whisk; cook over medium heat until thick (about 10 minutes). Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Reserve 1 1/2 cups sauce.

Combine pasta and remaining cheese sauce. Spoon half of pasta mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spoon meat mixture over pasta. Top with remaining pasta mixture. Pour reserved cheese sauce evenly over pasta layer. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.

Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 230.7
  • Fat: 5.9g
  • Saturated fat: 3.2g
  • Protein: 18g
  • Carbohydrate: 28.4g
  • Cholesterol: 33mg
  • Iron: 2.9mg
  • Sodium: 466.4mg
  • Calories from fat: 22%
  • Fiber: 2.8g
  • Calcium: 241.6mg

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