Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Skillet Pastitsio

This, quite frankly, is comfort food at its finest.

 I've been on a bit of a dessert craze lately, so I figured it was time to bring back some savory dinner food on the blog. And since I've spent so much time on dessert, I made sure I came back to dinner with a bang. Enter this delicious, creamy, meaty pasta dish of the gods.

I'm a sucker for high calorie pasta dishes. I eat them like they're going out of style. And if I had to choose only one to eat for the rest of my life, this would probably be it. I fall in love with it all over again, every time I make it. It's creamy, lightly spiced, hearty and all around delicious.

Skillet Pastitsio
adapted from Cooking for Two 2010 (Cooks Illustrated)

8 oz. ground beef
1 small onion, minced
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 lb. macaroni (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tsp. cornstarch
3/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 475

In a non-stick 12" oven-safe skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer meat to a bowl and set aside. 

Return skillet to the heat and add onion, cinnamon and nutmeg, and cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and oregano, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, water, 1/4 cup cream and salt, then return the beef to the skillet. Increase heat to high and simmer vigorously, stirring often, until pasta is tender 9-12 minutes.

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

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