Greek Pasta Torte

A subtle touch of cinnamon adds intriguing flavor to a simple pasta and ground beef casserole.

  • Prep Time 55 min
  • Total Time 1 hr 35 min
  • Servings 8

12
oz. (4 cups) uncooked ziti (long tubular pasta)
1
lb. lean ground beef
1
medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2
cups tomato pasta sauce
1/2
teaspoon cinnamon
3
cups milk
3
tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4
teaspoon salt
1/8
teaspoon pepper
3
eggs
1/2
cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4
cup Progresso™ Plain Bread Crumbs
1
tablespoon butter or margarine, melted

  • 1 Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish and 16x12-inch sheet of foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • 2 Cook ziti in Dutch oven or large saucepan as directed on package. Drain in colander. Cover to keep warm; set aside.
  • 3 Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Stir in pasta sauce and cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
  • 4 Heat oven to 350°F. In same Dutch oven, combine 1 cup of the milk, flour, salt and pepper; mix with wire whisk until smooth. Stir in remaining 2 cups milk. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils and is slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  • 5 Beat eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk. Gradually add half of hot milk mixture, stirring constantly. Stir egg mixture back into mixture in dutch oven. Add cheese; mix well. Add cooked ziti; toss gently to coat evenly.
  • 6 Place half of ziti mixture in sprayed baking dish. Spoon beef mixture evenly over ziti mixture. Top with remaining ziti mixture. Cover tightly with sprayed foil.
  • 7 Bake at 350°F. for 35 to 40 minutes or until edges are bubbly. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix bread crumbs and butter.
  • 8 Remove foil; sprinkle bread crumb mixture over top. Bake uncovered an additional 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Expert Tips

The recipe is modeled after pastitsio (pah-STEE-tsee-oh), the classic Greek casserole made with long macaroni meat and tomato sauce, grated cheese and béchamel sauce. Cinnamon traditionally seasons the meat and tomato sauce, and it gives this torte a subtly exotic flavor.

Serve greens tossed with a red wine vinaigrette seasoned with oregano. A loaf of crusty bread and a plate of feta cheese, kalamata olives and salonika peppers finish a Greek dinner. For dessert serve fresh orange or melon wedges.

Nutrition Information

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING

Serving Size: 1/8 of Recipe
Calories
490
(
Calories from Fat
160),
% Daily Value
Total Fat
18g
18%
(Saturated Fat
7g,
7%
),
Cholesterol
125mg
125%;
Sodium
630mg
630%;
Total Carbohydrate
56g
56%
(Dietary Fiber
2g
2%
  Sugars
12g
12%
),
Protein
26g
26%
;
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
16%;
Vitamin C
8%;
Calcium
24%;
Iron
20%;
Exchanges:
3 1/2 Starch; 1 1/2 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choices:
4
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.