Monday, February 13, 2012

Pastisio - Secret Recipe Club

Secret Recipe Club took the month of January off. I was glad to see the date for the February reveal was prior to our vacation. We try to plan a vacation to a warm spot every February. Although it's been a much warmer than normal winter this year, we're still looking forward to vacation. This year even more than past years, because I WON this vacation. More about that later.

In case you're not familiar with SRC, here's how it works. Each month you're assigned a blogger, you choose one of his or her recipes, prepare it and keep it a secret until reveal day. This month, I was assigned Let's Try These. I am surprised we haven't "met" before. We've both baked in Cookie Carnival and Martha Stewart's Cupcake Club. Also, we've both been through the Wilton cake decorating courses. Vivian has baked a wedding cake. I'd love to do that one day but it makes me crazy nervous to think about it! I chose one of Vivian's savory recipes since I bake enough sweet recipes in the baking groups I belong to.

The cinnamon adds a great depth of flavor to this tomato based pasta dish. Tim and I enjoyed this dish a lot.

Courtesy of Let's Try These.
2 lean ground beef
6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/4 to 1/2 cup red wine (or water if you prefer)
1 pound penne pasta
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk (I used skim)
1 1/2 cups vegetable or beef broth (I used beef)
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat a pan over medium-high heat; add ground meat. Cook until is browned.

Add Four of the minced garlic cloves, the cinnamon, oregano, pepper flakes and a
generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant and spices are
well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, sauce and enough wine, or water,
to make a sauce that is suitable to your taste but still not too thin. You will be
layering the sauce as you would for a lasagna so keep in mind that thickness.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, partially covered,
until sauce is thick and richly flavored, about 20 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Microwave milk and broth in a quart measuring cup, cover lightly with plastic wrap
and cook until steamy and hot. How long this takes will depend on your microwave.
Mine only took 4 minutes.
In a medium saucepan; heat butter and remaining 2 cloves minced garlic until garlic
is slightly golden. Whisk in flour until well blended. Pour in hot milk mixture while
whisking vigorously until sauce is smooth and starts to thicken. Stir in 1/2 cup of
the Parmesan cheese and nutmeg; season to taste with salt and pepper. In a separate
bowl, whisk together the two eggs; add a ladle full of the broth mixture to the eggs
and whisk to combine. Add the egg mixture to the remaining broth in the
sauce pan and whisk to fully incorporate.

Add a ladle full of tomato sauce mixture to bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
Spread half of the pasta over the the pan and top with remaining tomato mixture;
sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

Top with remaining pasta and pour over the top the milk/broth mixture;
cover top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Cover pan with foil; bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and turn oven to broil.
Watching carefully, broil until tops is spotty brown, 3-5 minutes.
Remove from oven and let stand to set 10-15 minutes. Cut into portions and serve.
Yields: 8 serving


  1. This looks yummy..Perfectly made..


  2. Julie, when I lived in Omaha (16 years ago, where does time go?), I made patisio all the time, loved it. Thanks for reminding me how wonderful the dish is.


    p.s. this is just not right that St. Louis is colder than Omaha today ;-)

  3. Glad you enjoyed the recipe! You are right, strange that we've not met! Small, small world!

  4. Love Pastitio Julie; always a hit with my family. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. what a fabulous looking recipe. Bet I could make it with gluten free pasta and tofu.. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Judee @ Gluten Free A-Z

  6. That looks like an awesome one-pot (or pan, in this case) dish for a cold day.

  7. This sounds wonderful with the red wine and all that cinnamon! I'll have to whip out the gluten free pasta and make this, thanks!

  8. I grew up eating this dish all the time yet I haven't made it in years. I need to change that, thanks for the kick in the bottom I needed to remember a favorite meal.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my Group 'A' SRC entry: Crunchy Fudgy Heart Bites

    Cook Lisa Cook

  9. This sounds and looks really yummy!!

  10. I love Pastitsio! I have to make it. Great pick for the SRC!

  11. I'm interested in this sauce. Seems like a mix between red and white. Looks good!

    P.S. Congrats on the vacation. Excited to see where you're headed!

  12. This reminds me of a greek moussaka I made one time. Cinnamon sounded weird at the time, but I agree, it added a great depth of flavor. where are you heading on vacation? I’m stopping by from SRC but I’d love if you check our my new site February is oranges month so if you have any orange recipes, we’d love if you’d link up!

  13. The cinnamon in the pasta sauce has always made want to try this! Yours looks like some serious comfort food deliciousness.

  14. Looks delicious! I would love to give this a try.
    Looking forward to hearing about your vacation.


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