Get out a large dutch oven and heat the
Olive Oil (1 dash)
in it over medium high heat. Add in the
Garlic (4 cloves)
Fresh Mint (1/4 cup)
and let them get fragrant for a couple of minutes. Then add the
Ground Lamb (2 lb)
and brown it as you completely break it up.
While it cooks through and browns, season it with the
Salt (1 pinch)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper (1 pinch)
Ground Cinnamon (1 Tbsp)
Ground Nutmeg (1/2 tsp)
Ground Cloves (1/2 tsp)
Ground Cumin (1/2 tsp)
Cayenne Pepper (1/4 tsp)
Once the meat is brown, stir in the
Tomato Paste (1 Tbsp)
and let it cook through for a minute. Then add in the
Red Wine (1/2 cup)
and let it absorb into the meat for about 5 minutes.
Finally, add in the
Diced Tomatoes (1 can)
Bay Leaves (2)
. Bring it to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer to cook for 45 minutes.
While the meat sauce cooks, make the bechamel sauce and put water on to boil for the pasta. For the bechamel, heat the
Butter (1/3 cup)
in a medium sauce pan and let it melt. Whisk in the
All-Purpose Flour (1/3 cup)
and keep whisking until you have a golden, thick paste. Keep whisking while you slowly pour in the
Milk (3 cups)
. Stir in the
Ground Nutmeg (1/4 tsp)
Grated Parmesan Cheese (1/4 cup)
Let the sauce gently bubble and thicken for 10-15 minutes, whisking it often to keep it smooth. When it is done, set it aside.
Cook the pasta. Salt the boiling water generously, then cook the
Rigatoni (1 lb)
until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
When the sauce is done, remove the bay leaves and stir the cooked pasta into the meat sauce. Get out a 9x13 lasagna pan and transfer the pasta with meat sauce into it in an even layer. Spread the bechamel in an even layer over the pasta. Then sprinkle the remaining
Grated Parmesan Cheese (1/2 cup)
on the top.
Bake the pastitsio for about 40-45 minutes, until bubbly. Take it out and sprinkle additional chopped mint on top and serve immediately! Makes great leftovers too.