Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Adventures in the Kitchen: Quick Pastitsio

With the piles and piles of recipes I have stacked up it's about time I put on my apron and started seeing which ones were worth adding to the cook book and which ones were not worth attempting again (don't worry I wont share the bad ones with you!)

Last week I decided to try this new Quick Pastitsio recipe I got out of my October Issue of Cooking Light.  The boy eats pasta for dinner almost every night (if he has it his way) with pasta left overs for lunch. Talk about carb over load for me. 

This recipe was quick and easy, only calling for about a dozen or so simple ingredients, most of which I had. Check out my modifications below.

Quick Pastitsio
Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light
Yields: 6 servings (I would say more like 8)

  • 8 ounces uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound ground sirloin (I choose to use lean ground turkey, ground spicy turkey sausage would work too to add some kick to this dish)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1 (3-ounce) package fat-free cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove beef from pan; drain. Wipe pan clean with paper towels. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add beef; sprinkle with salt. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in milk, tomatoes, and cream cheeses, stirring until smooth; bring to a simmer. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in pasta.
  4. Spoon pasta mixture into a 13 x 9-inch broiler-safe baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over top. Broil 4 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle with parsley.
  5. Dish up and enjoy!
This is definitely a delicious and fast dish. It was creamy and rich, but not to rich. Perfect for a fall evening. I made this dish for 4 adults and after grub time about half the pan was still left over- meaning it could probably serve were more then 6) If you want to add an added kick to this dish (wasn't spicy enough for my boy's liking) try substituting the ground sirloin for spicy ground sausage and even adding in a dash or two of habinaro sauce in step 3 when stirring in the milk. Another suggestion for this dish is to also add in sauteed red peppers for some extra flavor. Happy cooking!

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