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On Sunday, I had less cooking to do. In the morning I assembled this recipe to bake for dinner. I used my own ragu (meat sauce) that I always keep in the freezer. We loved it with a salad, and dessert.

3 cups of any meat sauce (or red sauce of your choice)
2 lb. ziti (or penne, or rigatoni, or mostacioli)
1 3/4 c. fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 c. grated parmigiano cheese
1 recipe Bechamel sauce

For Bechamel sauce:

7 T. unsalted butter
6 T. flour
7 c. whole milk
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 cup grated parmigiano cheese
1 t. salt
5 large egg yolks

Melt butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour, whisking frequently. Cook until golden (5-6 minutes). Meanwhile, heat milk in another saucepan until just before boiling. Add hot milk to roux in a stream, whisking constantly until very smooth. Bring sauce to boil over medium heat, whisking, then cook for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg, cheese and 1 t. salt.

Lightly beat egg yolks in a bowl. Gradually whisk in 2 cups of bechamel, then whisk yolk mixture into remaining bechamel in saucepan. Cover with a round of buttered wax paper.

Preheat oven to 375. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with 1 c. bechamel sauce. Arrange 1/3 of pasta in bottom of a large baking dish (all facing the same direction).


Spread with half of warm meat sauce. Arrange a second layer of pasta, and the remaining meat sauce.


Top with third layer of pasta, and spread remaining bechamel sauce over top. Stir together bread crumbs and cheese, and sprinkle evenly over top. Bake until crumbs are golden, and sauce is bubbly, about 45-50 minutes.

*If making ahead of baking time, bring to room temp and bake 50 minutes, or 1 hour if still chilled from fridge.


We all LOVED this. The bechamel with the cheese and egg yolks is delicious. This is much more fun than lasagna, and was delicious!!!

Dessert was Cheddar-crust apple pie and cinnamon ice cream.


Here is our annual "bow picture" (we must wear all ribbons after opening gifts).


And here is this year's Godmother Christmas shot with Casey and my WONDERFUL soon to be new Goddaughter, Sarah!


Comments (7)


Palma, I love the "bow" photo. And the meal looks fantastic.


Palma, do you ever freeze this dish?

Kim, it was the first time I made it, and did it in the morning, just kept it in the fridge.

I see no reason why it would freeze well if made ahead, thawed and baked! I'll try it next time, as I promised it to my two friends who have been storing 5 tubs of my sauce in their freezers, as mine was filled with cookies!

I might also use a slightly smaller pan and go with 4 layers, with half the bechamel half way up. I used a 10x15 pan, and would do it in a 9x13 next time with same amounts. I had pasta left over, but not quite enough for a whole layer. I also had extra meat sauce thawed. But it was delicious, and worth the time to assemble!

Apparently everyone made Pastitsio on the weekend. I even used the same recipe from Gourmet magazine (although I made the lamb meat sauce they suggest).

The magazine says that they freeze well once baked.

I don't think I have ever had pastitsio before. It sure looks good. I just love the bow photo! What a fun tradition. Merry Christmas!

barb cabot:

You'e been so busy! What a nice family portrait above and love the sweatshirt! Enjoy your Christmas with Brad. Joy to you both!


Sounds good - I'm thinking if I have time Sunday making a double batch and freezing one for the family to eat while I'm in my fog.

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