Lamb Pastitsio

It’s Australia Day on Wednesday (26th January), and one of the traditions is to eat lamb. Actually, I’m not sure it’s so much of a tradition as an advertising gimmick by the lamb marketing people, but hey, why not?!

My options for making something with lamb ranged from a roast leg through to burgers. But I am always in the mood for pasta, and wanted a recipe that would make enough so we will still have left-overs ready to eat for a quick dinner on Wednesday. Plus, my vegetable patch is still growing zucchinis like crazy and they need eating! So, I decided on this version of a pastitsio using my usual cheat of Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup instead of making a bechamel sauce. (See my Easy Lasagne for another cheat’s bechamel recipe.)

Ingredients – serves 4-6:

  • 250g/9oz penne pasta (I used dried rather than fresh)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I used ‘Tasty’, the Aussie equivalent to cheddar)
  • 1 tbspn oil (olive or vegetable)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 500g/18oz minced (ground) lamb (if you can’t get lamb mince then use beef)
  • 100g/3oz diced bacon pieces (or you could use 2 rashers cut up)
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced (this is optional, you could use carrots, or no vegetables)
  • 400g/14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 tbspn tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock (I used ready made, but you could use a stock cube mixed with water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules (or 1 clove fresh garlic, crushed)
  • 420g/15oz can Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 200ml/7fl oz milk
  • 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • grated cheese and dried mixed herbs, to sprinkle

Method:

  • Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water for 8-10 minutes, or until tender but still firm to the bite. (The pasta will cook more later, so don’t over-cook at this stage.)
  • Drain and return to the pan to cool.
  • In another large saucepan, heat the oil with half the garlic granules, then cook onion for 3-5 minutes or until softened.
  • Add bacon bits to the pan, stir and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add the lamb mince, stirring regularly to break up any lumps. Cook for about 5 minutes or until lamb is browned.
  • Add the diced zucchini, stir to combine with lamb and cook for 3 minutes to soften the zucchini.

  • Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, stock and remaining garlic granules, then bring to the boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200C/fan forced 180C/390F.
  • Mix the can of mushroom soup and the milk in a large jug.
  • Stir the beaten egg and cup of grated cheese into the cooled pasta, and then spread the pasta over the base of a large ovenproof dish.

  • Top the pasta with the meat sauce.
  • Spoon (or carefully pour) the mushroom soup/milk mix over the top of the meat sauce, making sure to cover the entire dish.
  • Sprinkle the top with the breadcrumbs, a small amount of grated cheese and some dried mixed herbs.

Ready to cook....

  • Cook for approximately 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  • Once cooked, allow to sit in the dish for at least 10 minutes before serving.
  • Enjoy!

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