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Pastitsio - Baked Macaroni with Meat Sauce

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Pastitsio is a classic Greek macaroni dish, traditonally served during Greek holiday celebrations. This low fat version would make a perfect potluck dish. Enjoy with a green salad on the side.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ziti macaroni
  • 3 cups skim milk or 1% milk
  • 1 small egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup grated nonfat or reduced-fat Parmesan or kefalotiri cheese
  • 1/2 cup nonfat or reduced fat bread crumbs or cornflake crumbs
  • .
  • Meat Sauce:
  • 1 pound 96% lean ground beef
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 16-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp oregano (preferably Greek rigani)
  • 1 cup water

Preparation:

Bring a 4-quart pot of water to a rolling boil, and cook the ziti al dente according to the package directions.

While the water for the ziti is heating up, prepare the meat sauce. Coat a 4-quart pot with olive oil cooking spray, and place over medium heat. Add ground beef, salt, pepper, and water. Cook, while stirring to crumble, until meat is no longer pink. Transfer the cooked beef to a colander, and drain any excess fat.

Return the meat to the pot, and add the tomato sauce, carrot, garlic, onion, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, oregano, and water. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

In a large saucepan, heat the milk until scalded (almost to boiling). Turn off the heat. In a small bowl, beat the egg and egg whites until light and frothy. Set aside. In another small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in water, then add it to the milk, stirring constantly. Slowly stir the beaten eggs into the milk mixture, and add half the cheese.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with olive oil cooking spray. Drain and rinse the cooked ziti.

Cover the bottom of the baking pan with half of the bread crumbs, then top with half of the ziti, then sprinkle with the remaining bread crumbs and top with remaining cheese. Slowly pour the milk mixture over the casserole, making sure it is evenly distributed.

Cover the pan with foil, and bake about 1 hour, or until the top is light brown and firm.

Cool the casserole for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Serves 10.

Per Serving: Calories 409, Carbohydrates 55g, Cholesterol 62.5mg, Fat 3.5g, Fiber 3g, Protein 16g, Sodium 676g

Reprinted from Secrets of Fat-Free Greek Cooking by Elaine Gavalas by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., Copyright (c) 1998 by Elaine Gavalas.

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