Saturday, August 5, 2006

Greek-Style Pasta with Meat

I've made this several times and it's always a success and I always forget how easy it is! I always buy more ground beef than I need just for burgers or meat sauce, so this is a cool way to use up some of that extra chuck you have in the back of your freezer. The feta cheese is a must and the herbs might sound strange, but are perfect in this dish. I'm going to copy it straight from the cookbook, though I usually halve the recipe for the two of us. Also, I just use pre-ground beef, but I'm sure lamb would be delicious. And I just use diced tomatoes since crushed tomatoes only come in a huge can in my local grocery stores.

Greek-Style Pasta with Meat
from Prevention's Ultimate Quick & Healthy Cookbook
Serves 4

6 oz. lean, trimmed boneless leg of lamb or beef top round cut into chunks (or grounds ahead)
2 tsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried mint
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Large pinch of ground cinnamon (essential!!)
1 can (16 oz.) crushed tomatoes in purée or diced tomatoes
1 can (8 oz.) no-salt-added tomato sauce
10 oz. orzo pasta
1 oz feta cheese (or as much as you like!)

1) Bring large covered pot of water to boil over high heat
2) Process lamb or beef in food processor until just ground (obviously skip this if you're starting with ground meat)
3) Warm oil in a large, heavy skillet over med.-high heat. Add onions and garlic, sauté for 3-5 minutes or until onions are tender and lightly browned. . Crumble in ground meat and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes or until no longer pink. Add a table spoon of water if the pan gets too dry. Stir in seasonings. Cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.
4) Stir in crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 min or until flavors are blended.
5) While sauce simmers, add pasta to boiling water, return to boil, cook for 6-8 minutes or according to package directions until al dente. Drain and transfer to serving bowl.
6) Spoon meat sauce over pasta and sprinkle with feta.