This recipe was such a great way to make lots of food all at once. The pound of pasta easily makes 10 servings when you serve a vegetable on the side. It is rich and delicious and is sure to be a family favorite. The bechamel sauce on tops makes for a beautiful, brown topping over the pasta.
It might look like a complicated recipe, but it is really just 3 sections…the meat sauce, the bechamel and the pasta itself. Don’t let the multiple parts overwhelm you as you can do them all very quickly.
Here’s what you’ll need:
For the meat sauce:
- olive oil
- ground turkey – 2 lbs (you can use ground lamb or beef, but I used turkey for a healthier option)
- onion, chopped – 1
- garlic, minced – 3 cloves
- red wine, dry – 1/2 cup
- tomato paste – 1/4 cup
- cinnamon – 1 tbsp
- allspice – 1/2 tsp
- whole tomatoes, canned – 1 (14 oz)
- salt and pepper to taste
For the bechamel
- butter, unsalted – 1/2 cup
- flour – 1 cup
- milk, 1% – 5 cups
- parmesan, grated – 1 cup
- egg yolks – 3
- nutmeg – 1 pinch
- salt and pepper to taste
For the pasta
- ziti – 1 lb
- olive oil – drizzle
- egg whites – 3
- parmesan – 1/4 cup
The first step is to start heating your pasta water. Be sure to add plenty of salt!
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Put your five cups of milk in a pot and begin to heat over medium-high heat. Be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t scorch!
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions.
Cook onions for about 5 minutes until they start to become translucent.
Add the ground turkey and garlic to the pan.
Cook until turkey is browned.
Add the red wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, cinnamon and allspice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 25 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, start your bechamel.
Tip: Your water should be close to boiling now. Once it is, add your pasta and cook as directed.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add the flour and whisk.
Add the scalded milk and whisk until smooth.
Remove sauce from heat and add parmesan, egg yolks, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate.
Tip: Sauce should be thick enough that it covers the back of a spoon.
Pasta should be done by now. Drain.
Add egg whites, a drizzle of olive oil and parmesan to pasta. Stir to incorporate.
Now you are ready to bake it:
Layer the sauce on the bottom of a large casserole dish.
Add the noodles on top of the sauce.
Cover the noodles with the bechamel sauce.
Bake this in the oven for 45 minutes until top is golden brown.
Can you even handle how good that looks! The bechamel looks beautiful on top! I was able to cut this into 10 pieces and serve alongside some snap peas. The recipe can be found here:
Italian Snap Peas with Tomatoes
Enjoy! This was a hit in our household all around!