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Pastitsio

May 5, 2014 by: Zoe Vlachos Beef ,Casserole ,Main ,Pasta

When it comes to Greek comfort food- this one takes the cake! Think of pastitsio as the Greek version of lasagna. Delicious layers of pasta, meat sauce and creamy and cheesy béchamel. It is often served along with a green salad, and makes the perfect meal to share with friends and family!

Servings: 6-8

 Ingredients:

Pasta

  • 1  500g package of long macaroni noodles (found at Greek bakeries or grocery shops)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan or mizithra cheese

Meat Sauce

  • 2 pounds ground beef or lamb
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf 5 cloves
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 6 ripe Roma tomatoes, diced (or 1 can of diced tomatoes 796ml)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt to taste

Béchamel Sauce

  • 1/2 cup of salted butter
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups of warmed milk
  • 3/4 cup of parmesan or mizithra cheese
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of cracked black pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs to sprinkle over the assembled pastitsio

Preparations: 

Pasta

Cook pasta until ‘al dente’. Drain and  toss back into pot with olive oil and cheese.

Meat Sauce

In a large, heavy bottom pot heat oil over medium- high heat. Add the ground meat and sauté, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add onion, garlic, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf. Saute until onion has softened, then add the dry red wine. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the diced tomatoes. Lower the heat to medium, season with salt and pepper and cover.  Simmer until sauce has reduced and thickened and stir in the parsley.  Remember to discard the bay leaf and cloves.

Béchamel Sauce

In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to a very crumbly roux. Whisk vigorously while slowly pouring the warm milk into the pot. When the mixture is smooth and thick, whisk the cheese and pepper in. If including nutmeg, you can add that at this time as well.  Remove the pot from the heat and whisk the beaten eggs into the sauce.

Assembly

In a lasagna pan, evenly layer the macaroni, meat sauce and béchamel. Top the béchamel with breadcrumbs and bake uncovered at 400 degrees F. until golden.

 

 

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