Pastitsio

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Pastitsio or Pasticcio

Pastitsio and mousaka are ‘the’ traditional pan oven dishes of the Greek cuisine culture. There are many variations in the making of individual parts of the dish, but the basic structure is the four layers macaroni, meat sauce, macaroni, Béchamel cream, remains the same. 

Ingredients:

  • 32oz Macaroni (Spaghetti) #2 – if not available could use ziti or elbow macaroni
  • 2.5 lbs (approx) ground beef
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick, salt, pepper, oregano
  • 2-3 well ripe tomatoes (fine diced) 
  • 2-3 garlic pieces (chopped)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoons butter

Pastitsio Image: Greek National Tourism Organization

Directions:

  • Cook macaroni less time than directed on package (do not overcook); drain, and leave it aside.
  • Meat sauce: sauté the chopped onions and garlic in olive oil, stir in ground beef and cook until beef is brown. Drain excess fat juice and add the diced tomatoes, cinnamon stick, salt, coarse pepper, and little oregano . Cook for a few more minutes and leave it aside.
  • Separate egg yolks and whites; beat lightly in separate bowls.
  • Mix only the egg whites with macaroni (yolks will be used later)
  • Spread half the macaroni in a lightly greased baking pan (11x17x2 inches) and sprinkle some of the parmesan cheese.
  • Spread on top evenly the meat mixture.
  • Cover with the remaining macaroni; sprinkle again with some parmesan cheese.
  • Now the pan should be layered with macaroni, meat sauce, and macaroni.
  • Prepare the Béchamel cream sauce as follows: On a pot pour the milk and the butter. Cook on low to medium heat adding slowly the flour and stirring constantly so it won’t be lumpy. When comes to a boil continue stirring on low heat until becomes thick cream (add by shifting a little more flour to thicken the sauce if needed). It will take approximately 30 minutes for the sauce to thicken. When ready, add very slowly the beaten egg yolks while stirring, to complete the Béchamel cream.
  • Pour cream over macaroni, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cook uncovered in 370 degree oven until light brown on top, approx. 40 minutes.
  • Notes: Let the dish cool of for a while before serving. Macaroni # designation is in order of thickness.
    Bon appetit!

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