Margarita's International Recipes
Pastitsio is a classic Greek dish, with a definite Italian influence (the name itself derives from the Italian). It's basically a simplified version of lasagna that includes long tubular noodles, a ground meat filling and bechamel sauce. Each family has their own particular version. I chose this particular recipe because it seemed close to the basic one and got good reviews.
All in all, it's a pretty good recipe. It's subtler than the Italian pastas I'm used to making, with less tomato and softer flavors. This particular version has less cheese than others. If you want stronger flavors, I'd recommend increasing the cheese. I added some extra for my second serving.
For the noodles
- 12 oz pastitsio pasta, bucatini or other tubular pasta.
- 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
For the filling
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 lb ground beef or ground lamb
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp powdered dried mint
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground pepper
For the bechamel sauce
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (or more)
Make the noodles, filling and bechamel sauce separately. Allow to cool before assembling pastitsio.
Prepare the noodles
Boil the pasta in salted water until al-dente. Drain.
In a large bowl, combine melted butter, egg, milk and Parmesan cheese. Add the pasta and mix well. Set aside.
Prepare the filling
In a large sauce or frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and beef and brown on all sides. Add the tomato sauce, salt, mint, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper. Mix well and turn heat to low. Cook, stirring, until the meat is cooked through. Set aside.
Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour. Season with salt. Gradually, whisk in the milk. Turn heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens. Whisk in the egg and then the Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
Prepare the pastitsio
Preheat oven to 350F
Layer half of the pasta at the bottom of an 9"x13" glass baking pan, trying to keep the noodles straight. Top with the meat filling. Layer the rest of the pasta on top of this. Evenly spread the bechamel sauce on top of the pasta.
Cook for 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from truebrit's recipe at Food.com
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