On Friday evening I fancied cooking a pasta bake for Alberto and I – we do love a pasta bake – and I wanted to do something a bit different so I searched around until I found this. It’s a Greek style pasta bake with a yoghurty cheesy topping. I made a couple of my own changes though, including adding a sliced leek, some chopped mint, some gnocchi and using fussili pasta, rather than the macaroni originally listed in the recipe. It’s a very tasty dish and, as the recipe here serves 4 there was plenty for both Alberto and I to have for lunch the following day.
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large leek, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500g of lamb mince
1 tablespoon of tomato purée
½ a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
400g can of chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons of dried oregano (I didn’t have any oregano so I used fresh thyme instead)
1 teaspoon of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
350g of fresh fusili pasta
125g of fresh gnocchi
A knob of butter
For the topping
150ml of Greek yogurt
1 medium egg, beaten
80g of mature Cheddar, grated
50g feta, crumbled
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the onion, leek and garlic, stirring, for 5 minutes, until soft.
Increase the heat, add the minced lamb and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until browned. Drain off any excess fat.
Add the tomato purée and cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes, then half-fill the tomato can with water and add into the pan.
Add the thyme, mint and season. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
For the topping, mix the yogurt, egg and half the cheddar and feta. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and mix into the meat sauce.
Heat the butter in a small frying pan and fry the gnocchi until golden brown.
Place the pasta and meat sauce into an ovenproof dish. Season.
Top with the fried gnocchi.
Spoon the yogurt topping over the top and and scatter with remaining feta and then the remaining grated cheddar.
Bake for 25 minutes, until golden and bubbling.