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Phyllo-Layered Pastichio

My grandfather always made pastichio on special occasions or when we had guests coming for dinner. I cherish the happy memories I have of him teaching me how to cook one of his signature dishes. —Tina Waisman, Safety Harbor, Florida
  • Total Time
    Prep: 1 hour Bake: 35 min. + standing
  • Makes
    2 casseroles (6 servings each)

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine or beef broth
  • 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • ASSEMBLY:
  • 1 pound ziti or other small tube pasta
  • 1-1/3 cups grated Romano cheese
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted, divided
  • 20 sheets phyllo dough (14x9 inches)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, wine, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Discard cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
  • Meanwhile, cook ziti according to package directions for al dente. Drain and return to pan. Stir in cheese, eggs and 1/4 cup butter.
  • Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface; brush with butter. Layer with 9 additional phyllo sheets, brushing each layer. (Keep remaining phyllo covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.) Cut phyllo stack crosswise in half; place a stack in each of 2 greased 8-in. square baking dishes.
  • In each dish, layer 2 cups pasta mixture and 1 cup sauce. Repeat layers. Prepare a second stack of 10 phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter; cut in half and place a stack over each dish.
  • Bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.
    Freeze option: Cool unbaked casseroles; cover and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake casseroles as directed, increasing time to 60-70 minutes or until golden brown and a thermometer inserted in center reads 165°.
Nutrition Facts
1 serving: 484 calories, 25g fat (13g saturated fat), 130mg cholesterol, 684mg sodium, 42g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 2g fiber), 25g protein.

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