A tasty dish from Michael Symon’s heritage!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound long ziti
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup Kefalotyri cheese (grated)
Kosher salt (to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound ground lamb
2 cups onions (peeled, small dice)
2 cloves garlic (peeled, minced)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (leaves only, roughly chopped)
3 cups San Marzano tomatoes (crushed)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 and 1/2 cups Kefalotyri cheese (grated)
3 large eggs
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
For the Pasta: Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Brush a 9×13-inch casserole dish with olive oil and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook ziti 2 minutes less than package instructions indicate. Strain the pasta and remove to a large bowl. While the pasta is still warm, add butter and Kefalyorti cheese, and toss to combine. Line the pasta mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish and set aside.
For the Meat Sauce: In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the ground beef and lamb, breaking up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon as it browns. Season with salt and pepper and cook until deeply browned, about 8-10 minutes. Drain some of the excess fat, stir in the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste allowing to toast for 1 minute. Add the cinnamon, oregano, and crushed tomatoes and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tomatoes have begun to break down, about 15-20 minutes.
For the Bechamel: In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Whisk in the flour and allow to toast for 1 minute. Add the milk, cream, and nutmeg, continuously whisking to combine. Season with salt and pepper and continue to whisk until mixture has thickened slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the Kefaltoyri cheese until melted. Whisk in the eggs and set aside.
To Assemble: Pour the meat sauce on top of the pasta, and using a rubber spatula to spread into an even layer. Pour the bechamel over the meat sauce and transfer to the oven. Bake until the top is golden brown and puffy, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Tip: If your local market does not carry Kefalyorti cheese, Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano make excellent substitutes!