Before I start, let me say that this recipe is not quick and simple to throw together. It is quite time consuming and makes every dish in your kitchen dirty. So, if you do not want to spend 50 hours in the kitchen, don't make it. Well, that's an exaggeration but once I got started on it I realized there was a bit more effort required than I usually like to exude. Also, this is definitely not the most healthy and low fat recipe I could have ever made... there are probably a billion calories in it. Sometimes I read recipes not-too-closely and decide to make them and then realize that it probably wasn't the best choice after all. Hmm, so why am I even posting it? Well, because it was darn good, that's why.
recipe modified from 9x13 The Pan that Can Cookbook
1 pound ground beef (I used venison because that's what I do, but I'm sure most would use beef)
1 small onion, chopped
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 cup beef broth
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup dried penne pasta*
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
*this is not enough - I think it needs two cups.
1. Meat sauce: brown meat and onion in a large skillet. Once meat is nearly cooked, add mushrooms. Cook until meat is cooked through, drain if necessary. Add tomato sauce, broth and cinnamon to mixture. I know cinnamon sounds weird but trust me, add it. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook pasta. Drain and return to pot. The recipe said to use one cup but then at the end I did not have enough. I would suggest two cups. Toss cooked pasta with 3/4 cup milk, 2 eggs and half of the butter. Set the pasta mixture aside. You can see in the picture that there is too much sauce compared to the pasta.
3. For cream sauce, in a small saucepan melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Stir in salt and peppers and flour until smooth. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups milk. Cook and stir until mixture is thick and bubbly. Gradually stir hot mixture into two eggs.
4. Grease a 9x13 pan. Spread half of the pasta mixture in the prepared dish. Here is where I discovered I did not have enough pasta. There was barely enough to cover the pan, let alone trying to make two layers out of it. Also, there was way more sauce than pasta, making it quite soupy. Top with meat sauce and 1/3 of the cheese. Top with remaining pasta and another third of the cheese. Pour cream sauce evenly over the casserole and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Since I didn't have enough pasta, I just went pasta, meat, all of the cheese and all of the sauce.
5. Bake covered for 20 minutes at 350. Uncover and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
It was quite tasty, although because there were not enough noodles, the ratio of meat to noodles to sauce was a bit skewed. I will definitely try this again and just make a few adjustments. I served it with yogurt dill bread and corn on the cob.