This is a recipe from The Taste Of Home cookbook that I received for winning December’s Iron Cupcake: Earth challenge. It’s called Greek Pasta Bake, and I was tempted into making it because 1) I like pasta bakes, and 2) it had a nice list of ingredients. The description also tempted me into making this:
“Lemon and herbs are complemented by the subtle taste of cinnamon in this pasta bake.”
While cooking on the stove, the meat sauce (the meat called for was a mix of beef and lamb, but my store only had beef, so I used all beef) for this recipe smelled fabulous. Interestingly, after adding the cinnamon to the sauce, it definitely took on a different scent and it filled the house with the pleasing aroma.
After taking the dish out of the oven, I thought perhaps that the baking time might have been a little too long, at least for my tastes, as the rigatoni pasta on top became hard and chewy, as well as the crumbled feta cheese.
The taste of the finished product was just so-so. I could definitely taste a subtle hint of cinnamon, as the description noted. But I just wasn’t too pleased with the overall taste of the pasta bake and I will probably not be making this again.
Greek Pasta Bake
Adapted from The Taste Of Home Cookbook
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground lamb
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups uncooked rigatoni or large tube pasta
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
In a large skillet, cook beef and lamb over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in onion, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and thyme; mix well. Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes and lemon juice.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions; drain. Stir into meat mixture. Transfer to a greased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with feta cheese.
Cover and bake at 325F for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 minutes longer or until heated through.