Sunday Supper »

Cooking projects for people who'd like nothing more than to spend a sunday afternoon surrounded by the wonderful aromas of the kitchen.

Sunday Supper: Zucchini Pastitsio (Mediterranean Baked Beef and Pasta Casserole)

Editor's note: Each Saturday afternoon we bring you a Sunday Supper recipe. Why on Saturday? So you have time to shop and prepare for tomorrow.

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Bubbly, browned and cheesy, zucchini pastitsio is comforting, rib-sticking fall fare. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

My version of pastitsio, inspired by Vefa Alexiadou's version in Vefa's Kitchen, swaps zucchini for the more conventional eggplant. I've enlivened the meat sauce a bit with wine and onion and brightened the b├ęchamel with a bit of lemon zest.

Does this recipe take a bit of time and effort? Yes, since you're making two from-scratch sauces, but the end result is worth it.

Note: The casserole may be assembled and refrigerated one day in advance. Just remove it from the fridge a half-hour before you plan to bake it, and allow an additional 5 to 10 minutes of time in the oven.

About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago." Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.

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