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Lamb and Eggplant Pastitsio

MyCookbook Recipe Database
MyCookbook Member: twoez
Recipe Category: Casseroles
Recipe Preparation Level: moderate
    Lamb and Eggplant Pastitsio
    Recipe courtesy Gourmet magazine

    For Lamb Sauce:
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1 pound lean ground lamb
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon sugar
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    1 (28 to 32-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

    For Cheese Sauce:
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    2 cups milk
    1 garlic clove
    1 whole clove
    1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 large eggs

    For Pasta:
    10 ounces penne (3 cups)
    To make lamb sauce: Cook onion in oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add lamb and cook over moderately high heat, stirring and breaking up lumps, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt, oregano, cinnamon, sugar, and pepper and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes.

    Stir in eggplant and tomatoes and gently simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is just tender, about 40 minutes. Remove lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes more. Season with the salt and pepper.

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

    Make cheese sauce and cook pasta while lamb sauce is simmering: Melt butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then stir in flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk and add garlic clove and whole clove, then bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add feta, salt, and pepper and cook, whisking vigorously, until cheese is well incorporated.

    Beat eggs in a large bowl and gradually add sauce to eggs, whisking. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just al dente, then drain in a colander. Toss half of pasta with lamb sauce and half with cheese sauce.

    Assemble pastitsio: Pour pasta with lamb sauce into a wide shallow 3-quart baking dish, spreading evenly. Spoon pasta with cheese sauce on top, spreading evenly. Bake pastitsio, uncovered, in middle of oven until bubbling and top is golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
    ...Yield: 6 to 8 servings
    ...Prep Time: 20 minutes
    ...Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
    ...Difficulty: Medium

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