Greek Noodle Casserole (Pastitsio)


6 to 8 servings
Butter, for greasing the baking dish butter1
Kosher salt kosher salt1
12 ounces egg noodles egg noodles, wide12
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil extra-virgin olive oil2
1 large onion, chopped onion1
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper freshly ground black pepper¾
3 cloves garlic, chopped or smashed garlic3
1 pound ground lamb ground lamb1
2 tablespoons ground cumin ground cumin2
2 teaspoons ground coriander ground coriander2
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ground cinnamon1
½ teaspoon ground allspice ground allspice½
One 26-ounce jar tomato-basil sauce (3 ¼ cups) tomato basil sauce1
1 ½ packed cups fresh mint leaves, chopped fresh mint leaves1 ½
1 cup milk, at room temperature milk1
½ cup heavy cream, at room temperature heavy cream½
3 cups grated Parmesan (about 6 ounces) parmesan cheese6
1 cup plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature plain greek yogurt1
¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves, optionalfresh mint leaves¼


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the noodles until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the lamb, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, 1 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and mint. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Simmer the milk and cream over medium heat in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Reduce the heat to low. Add the cheese and whisk until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yogurt.

Add the meat sauce to the pasta and toss well until the noodles are coated. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Spoon the cheese sauce evenly on top and bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped mint if using, and serve.
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