Lamb and Eggplant Pastitsio

Locale: Greece []

Source: Ruth Reichl, Gourmet Cookbook [p. 227]

Serves: 6-8


  • 10 oz (3 c) penne

For Lamb Sauce

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.25 tsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 0.25 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 lb eggplant, peeled, cut into 0.5 inch cubes
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes in puree

For Cheese Sauce

  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 whole clove
  • 0.5 lb feta cheese, crumbled (about 1.5 c)
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.25 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Make lamb sauce: Heat oil in a 4 quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add lamb, increase heat to moderately high and cook, breaking up lumps, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add garlic, oregano, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add eggplant and tomatoes, cover, and simmer gently, about 40 minutes. Remove lid and simmer gently until sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes more.

  3. Heat oven to 425F

  4. While lamb sauce is cooking, make cheese sauce: Melt butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes to make a roux. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Add garlic and clove, reduce heat, and simmer, whisking occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add feta, salt, and pepper and cook, whisking vigorously, until cheese is well incorporated. Remove from heat and discard garlic and clove.

  5. Beat eggs in a 6-quart bowl. Gradually add sauce to eggs, whisking constantly.

  6. Cook pasta in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until just al-dente. Drain. Toss half of the pasta with lamb sauce, and half with cheese sauce.

  7. Pour pasta with lamb sauce into a shallow 3-quart baking dish, spreading it evenly. Spoon pasta with cheese sauce on top, spreading it evenly. Bake uncovered until bubbling and top is golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.