Original Recipe HERE

Upon googling, I learned that this recipe isn't the brainchild of San Giorgio (which had included the recipe on the back of the mini shells box and inspired me mid-grocery run to get the rest of the necessary ingredients).  That doesn't dampen my enthusiasm for this well-known, common-in-several-culinary-regions dish, though.  And anyway, if I go the lazy route and use alfredo instead of bechamel or a white sauce, and I substitute chopped veggies for the meat, can it really even be called pastitsio anymore?

Because I am cutting back on our meat consumption (shh, don't tell Husband...waiting for him to complain before I explain it), next time I will use more vegetables to add bulk and texture to the tomato sauce layer.  This recipe made "nine 1-cup servings" so I thought it would save me from having to make dinner the next night.  However, the meal made as directed below led *J* to request four servings and *N* three. I don't know the last time that happened. And *N* asked me when I was going to make it again. Husband took leftovers for lunch the next day. All in all, high praise for the pastitsio.

1 pound ground beef [I used chicken]
1 cup chopped onion
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 box (16 oz) pasta [anything non-noodle should work]
1 jar (16 oz) alfredo sauce
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

(1) Heat oven to 400°F.  Begin heating water to boil pasta.
(2) In large skillet over medium heat, cook meat and onion until meat is thoroughly cooked and onion is tender.
(3) Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt and cinnamon; heat to boiling.
(4) Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes.
(5) Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente (mine took 9 minutes); drain.
(6) Toss hot pasta with Alfredo sauce.
(7) In 13x9x2" baking dish, spoon half the pasta mixture.  Spread meat mixture evenly over pasta. Spoon remaining pasta evenly over meat mixture.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
(8) Cover with foil; bake 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Kid Participation:

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