I loved my short time in Cyprus, the island with its diverse foods and gorgeous breath-taking scenery. This recipe does take time to make but so worth the effort.
- 1 (16 ounce) packet penne pasta
- 1⁄2 lb halloumi cheese, shredded (Sub Mozarella if Haloumi is unavailable)
- 1 lb ground lamb (or beef)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1⁄4 cup red wine
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 4 ounces halloumi cheese, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 4 ounces kefalotiri (parmegiano or Haloumi cheese, grated)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon white pepper
- Cook penne according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water to eliminate sticking, and set aside.
- Lamb mixture:.
- Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Brown lamb in two batches, seasoning with salt and pepper. Set lamb aside and pour off excess grease.
- Reduce heat to medium and add onion. Cook until translucent, about 5minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, oregano, and nutmeg. Cook another minute. Add wine and deglaze pan.
- Reduce wine to about 1 tablespoon. Stir in tomatoes, including liquid, and lamb. Season with additional salt and pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in Haloumi cheese and cook another 5 minutes.
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Heat milk in the microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for four minutes.
- Slowly pour in hot milk, whisking steadily, and cook until thickened. Slowly whisk in egg yolks. Whisk in kefalotiri (Haloumi or parmegiano) cheese, cooking until melted and thick. Stir in salt and pepper.
- Toss pasta with shredded Haloumi or mozzarella cheese. Layer 3/4 of pasta in the bottom of 9 x 13 casserole dish. Layer meat mixture on top of pasta.
- Distribute remaining pasta over meat. Pour sauce evenly over pasta. Place casserole in middle of oven and cook for 35 - 45 minutes or until top is a golden brown.
- Serve with fresh crusty bread and a salad.
I lived in Cyprus for 6 years and this is the closed recipe I have made to the Pastitsio I used to eat in the Larnaca tavernas - divine thanks Sue! I made it as posted with one small sub of cinnamon for the nutmeg - I remember the cinnamon flavour, so added it, and it worked perfectly! The recipe yielded a huge dish for at least 6 people, and we all loved it with a side salad of lamb's lettuce and Greek style dressing - with some crusty bead too. Absolutely delicious as well as being very authentic - thanks for the memories! Karen/FT :-) (Photos to be posted when the site works for photo uploads again!)
This was a really good dish. It was a lot of work and used a lot of pans and dishes! But it was very good. I couldn't find halloumi cheese after visiting 3 grocery stores. So, I ended up using mozzarella. I would like to try this recipe again, using halloumi cheese (if I can find it).