Apparently I am on a Greek kick lately. Gyros on Friday and this pasta dish today. I hope that you don’t mind. Maybe I will have to make some kind of hummus this week to keep the string going…probably not going to happen, but maybe. I do have a can of chickpeas in my pantry. I have had it on my to do list forever, to try roasting them as a snack. Need to get my butt in gear and try that.
I have had this casserole on my list of things to make for a really long time. I am really not sure what took me so long to actually make it. A friend had surgery recently, so I took her family dinner one night. I know she has two very picky boys, so I really wanted to bring something that they would eat, but the adults would enjoy as well. While going through my list, I came across this recipe and thought it would be perfect! Ground beef, pasta, and cheese…what kid wouldn’t like that? I did bring Biscoff Rice Krispie Treats, just in case 🙂
One of the best things about this Pastitsio casserole, is you can make it ahead! I assembled everything in the afternoon, and then just put it in the oven to warm it through and melt the cheese at dinner time. Perfect to make on the weekend and have ready for a busy weeknight. Pastitsio casserole is slightly creamy, with the traditional Greek spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Great warm and comforting meal that is still pretty good for you.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 5 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 Tbls flour
- 1 (8 oz) package light cream cheese
- 2 cups milk (I used skim)
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese
- 12 oz whole grain pasta (penne or rotini)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.
Cook pasta about 2 minutes short of the package directions.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and onions. Saute until beef is cooked through and onions are soft. Drain any fat. Add garlic, 1 tsp salt and black pepper. Cook for about a minute, until fragrant.
Sprinkle in the flour, stirring to combine. Add cream cheese, stirring to melt into the meat.
Stir in the milk, tomatoes, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Stir in cooked pasta. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
To make ahead: Tightly cover the baking dish after you have sprinkled on the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes to heat through and melt the cheese on the day you are serving.