This rich, flavorful pasta dish, topped with a thick bechamel sauce, is similar to Italian lasagna. Serve with a simple salad.
1-1/2 pounds ground sirloin
1/4 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon table salt
1 large onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup medium-bodied red wine (such as Merlot)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute ground sirloin and pork in olive oil, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and add chopped onion. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add wine and simmer 5 minutes.
Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, 1 cup water, pepper, and cinnamon stick, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Then add eggs and Parmesan and stir well.
Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add ziti, reduce heat, and cook until al dente. Drain. Drizzle pasta with olive oil to coat lightly, and toss to prevent sticking.
Next, make the bechamel: In a large saucepan, melt butter on medium heat; add flour and cook, stirring continuously, until golden. Slowly whisk in milk. Season with salt and pepper. Let sauce cook until it thickens slightly, 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Once cooled, add eggs and Parmesan and stir well.
Preheat oven to 375°. Add half of the meat mixture to the ziti and mix well. Pour into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Cover pasta with remaining meat mixture. Top with bechamel, spreading it evenly over the top. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Drizzle melted butter over the top.
Bake on middle rack 30 minutes or until top is golden in color.
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