This dish was inspired by Greek Pastitsio, but I imagine it doesn’t even really resemble the authentic dish (which I have never had the privileged of eating)
1 lb Rigatoni pasta
1 lb ground turkey
1 medium onion
3-4 cloves garlic
20 oz diced tomato canned or 2 cups fresh (I actually recommend the canned here only because the juices help keep the pasta from drying out in the oven)
3-4 cups of a leafy green – I have tried kale, spinach, and arugula. All of them were delicious.
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
2 1/4 c. milk
First, start off by making the bechamel. Heat a saute pan on medium heat. Add the butter and wait for it to melt and begin to bubble. Then, add the flour and stir with a whisk until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the milk a little bit at a time, constantly whisking.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then let it simmer, while stirring regularly, until it thickens. Turn off the heat, then whisk in the cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside for later.
Bring a pot of water seasoned with olive oil and salt to boil. Add the uncooked pasta, and cook for 11 minutes. It should be slightly under cooked. Drain the pasta and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Heat a small amount of olive oil (about 2 tsp) in a saute pan on medium high heat.
Add the onions and garlic. When they become aromatic, add the turkey. Cook the mixture until it browns, about 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Add the tomatoes, paprika, and greens to the turkey and mix well. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste.
Now you are going to layer the casserole. Take a 9×13 casserole dish and add the meat and pasta in separate layers. If you like crunchy pasta like I do, make the layers meat-pasta-meat-pasta. If you don’t like crunchy pasta, do the reverse. Once you’ve gotten everything into the casserole dish, pour the bechamel sauce over the entire thing. If you can have cheese, add some cheese on top of the casserole as well. I used some smoked gouda for my fiance’s half of the dish.
Bake for 20 minutes uncovered. After 20 minutes, cover it with foil and bake another 20 minutes.
Tada! You’re ready to eat. I really love that this dish is savory with cinnamon; it’s a very complex flavor profile.