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Greek Lamb and Macaroni Bake

Reminiscent of both Shepherd’s Pie and Moussaka, this savory and satisfying concoction is a faithful representation of neither, but a spot-on delight in its own right! The delicious family one-pot elicited a complete conversational silence around the table, which we are inclined to interpret thusly: “So good, I simply must eat.” As murmurs of appreciation began to be heard, it was agreed that the combination of cinnamon and oregano in the lamb is wonderful, and that the ricotta-tossed macaroni topping provides the perfect creamy counterpoint to the savoury bottom layer. Happy sighs all around!

Greek Lamb and Macaroni Bake

1 tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 ½ lbs. ground lamb
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbs. oregano
1 tsp. beef stock base or cube
2 x 14 oz. canned chopped tomatoes
14 oz. elbow macaroni
9 oz. ricotta cheese (1 cup plus 2 tbs.)
2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (½ cup)
2 fl. oz. milk

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, and cook for 10 minutes on medium-low heat until soft. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Tip in the lamb and some salt and freshly ground black pepper, and turn up the heat to medium. Brown the lamb, breaking it up as you go with a wooden spoon.

Once the lamb is brown, drain off any obvious fat and add the cinnamon, oregano, beef stock base, and tomatoes. Reduce to a simmer and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and the tomatoes have broken down. Check the seasonings and spoon into a large baking dish.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well and stir in the ricotta, most of the Parmesan cheese, and the milk. Top the mince with the macaroni and sprinkle with the reserved Parmesan cheese. Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes, until golden and bubbly.

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