Skillet Pastitsio

Grrr..I really wish I had not used a yellow bowl...

Every now and then, I like to try my hand at making dishes from other cultures.  Pastitsio is a comfort food Greek dish made from ground meat, tomato sauce, pasta, and a cream sauce.  It’s usually prepared in the same fashion as a lasagna, and creates just as much food (and days and days of leftovers if cooking only for two).

This version of pastitsio is scaled down into an easy skillet supper for two.   It uses all of the traditional flavors and ingredients, and still delivers on the comfort food level you hope for.  It’s kind of like mac and cheese, but you’re not going to find cinnamon in a traditional mac.

Start by adjusting an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 475 degrees.  Cook the lamb in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, breaking apart the mat until no longer pink and the fat has rendered, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Transfer the lamb to a strainer set over a medium bowl and allow the meat to drain.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of the fat.

Heat the reserved fat in the skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the broth, water, 1/4 cup of the cream, and 1/4 tsp salt, then add the drained lamb and pasta.  Increase the heat to high and cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often, until the pasta is tender, 9 to 12 minutes.

Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup of cream and cornstarch together in a small bowl, then stir into the skillet and continue to simmer until thickened slightly, about 1 minute.  Off the heat, stir in 1/4 cup of the Pecorino Romano; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano over the top; bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!


  • 8 oz ground lamb
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons  tomato paste
  • 2 tsp minced fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt
  • 1/3 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 oz Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
  • Pepper

Original Recipe, America’s Test Kitchen Cooking for Two, 2010


Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: Meat, Pasta, Recipes

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One Comment on “Skillet Pastitsio”

  1. March 8, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    What a great idea when only cooking for two.

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