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December 11, 2017

Pastitsio | Baked Greek Pasta with American Lamb


Recipe Provided By
"Feasting at Home"
Prep Time

45 min

Cook Time

30 min

Total Time

1 hr 15 min



Baked Greek Pasta with American Lamb in cast iron pan


Lamb Bolognese

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground American Lamb
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 6 cloves garlic, rough chopped, or 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon (don’t skimp)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped )
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)
  • 2-1/2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, or Kasseri cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 extra large eggs, beaten


  • 3/4 pound penne pasta, cooked
  • 1/2 cup parmesan for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, for garnish


For the lamb Bolognese: In a large, heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add lamb, onion and salt; break up the meat with a metal spatula. Cook 10 to 12 minutes, stirring often until onions are tender and meat is browned; drain any fat. Splash with wine; cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon, cumin, oregano and pepper; sauté 2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Stir in crushed tomatoes and tomato paste; simmer on low heat, covered, for 20 minutes. Taste; add more salt if desired. 

For the Béchamel: In a medium pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Whisk in flour into a smooth paste; cook for 60 seconds. Whisk in 1 cup milk until smooth and thickened. Immediately add remaining 1-1/2 cups milk; whisk until smooth and thickened again. Add parmesan, salt, nutmeg and pepper; stir until cheese melts and sauce is smooth. Set aside; cool for 10 minutes. 

Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain. 

Once Béchamel has cooled 10 minutes (warm is ok, just not hot), stir in yogurt and beaten eggs.

Add cooked pasta to the Bolognese; mix. Pour into an extra large greased baking dish (9 X 13) or 12-inch ovenproof skillet. Top with Béchamel sauce, covering it evenly. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup more parmesan and scatter with fresh thyme leaves. Bake at 400°F 30 to 40 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.


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