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Greek Pastitsio Recipe

Photo and Recipe Credit: thehungrybites.com

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This is the Greek version of Lasagna! Many Greeks will argue it is even better than Lasagna. When you think of a Greek homemade pasta bake nothing beats Pastitsio! This is the hearty food that every Greek swears their mom or Yiayia can bake up the best! This is better than Lasagna for Greeks! It’s like when part of a Sheppards pie meats Lasagna! 

See another delicious Greek Pastitsio Video Recipe by Greece’s famous Chef Akis Petretzikis:

Prep Time: 1 hr 40 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 30 mins

 

Ingredients

For the meat sauce:

  • 2.4 pounds (1100 grams) minced beef
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 large grated onion
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup dry wine (red or rose)
  • 1/4 cup thick tomato paste
  • 2 cups pureed tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the pasta:

  • 1 package 1 pound/450 grams pastitsio pasta No2, bucatini pasta, or penne
  • 1 1/2 cups (120 grams) grated cheese (Greek Kefalotiri)
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt (for the water for the pasta)

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) olive oil (or butter)
  • Freshly ground nutmeg (about 1/3 of a nutmeg seed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
  • 6 cups (1500 grams) milk, warm
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (120 grams) grated cheese (Greek Kefalotiri)

Equipment:

  • One deep casserole dish about 14 x 10 inches (36 x 25 cm) and 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) deep or one round pan 14 inches (35cm) in diameter and 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) deep

Instructions:

  1. Make the meat sauce: Beef mince and oil are added to a deep pan that has been heated over high heat. When the meat is no longer red, stir it with a wooden spatula to break up any meat lumps and let it brown without stirring. Reduce heat to medium/high and add the onion, cinnamon stick, allspice, and cloves after cooking until all liquids have evaporated. After 5 minutes of stirring, add the wine. Add the tomato paste, tomato puree, sugar, salt, and pepper after waiting one minute for the alcohol to evaporate. Reduce heat to low and simmer until nearly all of the liquids have evaporated when it begins to boil once more (about 30 minutes). Take out and throw away the cinnamon stick.
  2. In the meantime, make the pasta: As directed on the package, cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted water until it is al dente.
  3. About two-thirds of the pasta should be added to the casserole dish after thoroughly draining it and combining it with the grated cheese. Use a spoon to level before adding the meat sauce. With the back of a spoon, level the meat sauce, then evenly distribute the remaining pasta on top of the meat.
  4. Preheat your oven to 374°F (190°C)
  5. Make the béchamel sauce: Until it begins to smell nutty, cook the flour and oil in a big pot while swirling continually with a whisk. Add the salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg after taking the pot off the heat. Whisk to mix, then gradually add the warm milk while continuing to whisk to avoid any lumps. When you initially add the milk, it will thicken; but, as you keep adding milk, it will relax. Return to the burner after adding all the milk, and cook it over medium heat while whisking continuously until it thickens. Remove it from the heat as soon as it begins to bubble, and then leave it to cool for 5 minutes on your counter. Whisk quickly to combine the eggs and 1 cup of the grated cheese.
  6. Pour the béchamel sauce over the pasta, level with a spatula and sprinkle the surface with the remaining grated cheese.
  7. Bake for 60 minutes or until the top is golden with dark spots all over the surface. Let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing for easier serving. KALI OREXI!

Notes:
– The meat sauce can be prepared the day before and refrigerated.
– This recipe makes a large portion of  9–10 servings. It might be preferable to divide the pastitsio into two smaller pans and freeze one for later use if you just need a lesser amount.  

Photo and Recipe Credit: thehungrybites.com







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