Parent Category: Living in Crete
Cretan cuisine (Κρητική κουζίνα) - Pastitsio (Παστίτσιο)
This is sort of like a Greek lasagne, topped with a bechamel sauce. This pastitsio recipe makes a lot and is just incredible. Everyone loves this dish and it is worth the effort.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 Kilo minced beef
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 tin tomato puree
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups grated Kefalotyri
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
- 500g macaroni or penne
- 4 egg whites
- 113 g unsalted butter
For the bechamel sauce:
- 226 g unsalted butter
- 128 g flour
- 1 litre milk, warmed
- 8 egg yolks
- a pinch of ground nutmeg
Begin with the Meat Filling:
- Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add ground beef and cook over medium-high heat until pink color disappears, about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until they are translucent, about 5 minutes more.
- Add wine, tomato sauce, parsley, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and pepper and allow sauce to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. While sauce is simmering put water on to boil for pasta.
- Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well. Rinse pasta in colander under cold water to cool them slightly.
- Stir in 3 tbsp breadcrumbs to meat sauce to absorb excess liquid and remove from heat.
- Melt butter in pasta pot and return cooked noodles to the pot. Stir in beaten egg whites and 1 cup of grated cheese and toss lightly, being careful not to break the noodles.
- Brush the bottom and sides of the lasagna pan with olive oil. Layer the bottom with half the pasta noodles and press down so that they are somewhat flat.
- Add the meat filling in an even layer to the pasta. Top with remaining pasta noodles and flatten top layer as best you can.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 C while you prepare the bechamel sauce.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Using a whisk, add flour to melted butter whisking continuously to make a smooth paste or roux. Allow the flour/butter mixture to cook for a minute but do not allow it to brown.
- Add warmed milk to mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Simmer over low heat until it thickens but does not boil.
- Remove from heat and stir in beaten egg yolks. Add pinch of nutmeg. If sauce still needs to thicken, return to heat and cook over very low heat while continuing to stir.
- Pour the bechamel over the pasta noodles making sure to pour sauce down in to the corners as well. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of grated Kefalotyri cheese. Bake in 200 C oven for approximately 45 minutes or until the top is a nice golden color.
Enjoy your meal (Καλή όρεξη)