Pastitsio

Ingredients:

Bechamel sauce:
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter (or EVOO)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups milk, heated
2 eggs
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (optional)

The Filling:
1 Tablespoon Butter (or EVOO)
2 cups macaroni (penne, elbow, anything thick)
1 Clove Garlic (Chopped or mashed)
2 lb Ground Beef (or Chicken or mushrooms)
1/2 Cup Kefalotiri (Grated)
3 Pinch Parsley (Chopped stalks)
2 Pinch Pepper
3 Pinch Salt
16 oz Tomato Sauce
2-3 Whole Tomatoes (Peeled and chopped)
1/2 Cup White Wine
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 Whole Yellow Onions (Peeled and chopped)
1 Cinnamon stick to cook with ground beef (optional)

*Lighten it Up!

  • Replace ground beef with ground turkey
  • Or eliminate the meat altogether and use grilled mushrooms for vegetarian
  • Replace butter with Olive Oil

Instructions:

For Bechamel sauce:

In a heavy sauce pan over moderately low heat melt butter (or EVOO). Whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Whisk in milk and simmer sauce, stirring, about 8 minutes. In a bowl whisk eggs and add 1 cup sauce in a stream, whisking. Whisk egg mixture into remaining sauce and whisk in nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Keep bechamel warm, its surface covered with plastic wrap.

The Filling:

Heat the butter (or EVOO) in a large frying pan and saute the ground meat (or mushrooms) and onion until slightly browned.

Add remaining ingredients, cover and cook over a medium heat; allow to cool.

Butter (or EVOO) a baking pan and put in half the macaroni.

Cover with the meat (mushroom) filling.

Top with remaining macaroni. Sprinkle with cheese and cover with the bechamel.

Sprinkle top with the rest of the cheese and breadcrumbs and cook in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool for 20 minutes then cut into square pieces and serve.

George Christidis