Sunday, September 27, 2015

Crock Pot Greek Ziti

Another great crock pot meal.  I found this recipe in Southern Living magazine and instead of baking it in the oven, I used my crock pot.  The result was delicious.

What intrigued  me about this recipe is that it was inspired by the a classic Greek comfort dish known as pastitsio.  I also loved the spices- especially the cinnamon used in this pasta bake.

As with most pasta bakes, this dish came together easily.  Your start by making a sauce made from ground beef, tomato sauce, onions, garlic, lemon juice, salt, sugar,  cinnamon and oregano.

Next you make a creamy sauce using butter, flour, milk, Parmesan cheese, and pepper.

 Once the pasta is cooked, you combine it with the cream sauce until well coated.

I sprayed my crock lightly with cooking spray before I added the pasta mixture.

The pasta mixture was then topped with the beef mixture, some mozzarella cheese, and breadcrumbs.

I cooked the dish for 2.5 hours on LOW in the crock  pot.  I let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.  It was a delicious and satisfying comfort dish:)

Crock Pot Greek Ziti
From Southern Living Adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen

12 ounces ziti pasta
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 (15-oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable cooking spray
1 (8-oz.) package shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs

1.  Sauté onion in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add beef; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until crumbled and no longer pink. Drain mixture, and return to skillet.
2. Stir tomato sauce, next 4 ingredients, and 1 tsp. salt into meat mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir in Parmesan cheese, pepper, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Add sauce to pasta, stirring to coat.
4. Lightly spray crock pot with cooking spray. Transfer pasta mixture to crock pot. Top with beef mixture, mozzarella cheese, and breadcrumbs.
5. Cook on LOW for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

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