Pastitsio is one of those ultimate indulgence sort of meals, like lasagna and mac and cheese. Hot, cheesy, and so damn good.
In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m kind of a soulless carb freak. I want my meat and potatoes and I don’t want to have to count calories or chew on celery all day long to repent. I play hard, and I will eat like a fat kid.
But What is Pastitsio?
Pastitsio is one of those ultimate indulgence sort of meals that need their own food group, like lasagna and all forms of mac and cheese. Any time dinner consists 97% pasta and 3% the stuff slathered all over it, it probably has some political official spending some ungodly amount of dollars building a campaign saying it slaughters innocent giraffes. (I know it most definitely upsets Mister Oliver, and really, he’s kind of awesome, so don’t eat this every day, mkay?). You could add a nice spinach salad to the side, you know, round things out. But lets face it, nothing is undoing this…
Grab that glass of wine and can handle the repercussions.
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- 3 tbsp olive oil good quality
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 1 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 lbs lean ground lamb
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 tbsp minced garlic 3 large cloves
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3/4 lbs pasta shells small
Start with the meat sauce:
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onion for 5 minutes, until soft.
- Add the ground beef and lamb and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, breaking up with a spoon.
- Drain off any fat if needed.
- Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes longer.
- Add the tomatoes and season with 2 teas salt and 1 teas pepper, if desired. Simmer for 40 - 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the béchamel sauce.
- Heat the milk and cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until just starting to simmer, there will be bubbles around the edges and steam coming off the top.
- In another larger saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk away.
- Slowly pour in the heated milk and whisk vigorously. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes longer, stirring often, until thick.
- Add the nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper if desired. Add 3/4 cup of the shredded Parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup of the tomato meat sauce.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Lastly, stir in the eggs and yogurt.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13" baking dish.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until just al dente. You're going to continue to bake it, so don't over cook it. Drain.
- Toss the pasta in with the meat sauce to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.
- Pour the bachamel sauce over the top and shake the pan about to spread evenly. Top with the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour, until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
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I’m glad you. Kept some lamb in the recipe. It’s what makes this such a fabulous dish! Beautiful!
This looks mighty tasty!!
Looks great and reads great. It is close to the traditional Greek recipe but if you really want the dish they serve in Greek restaurants you really need to adjust it a bit. For the amount of meat stated you need 1 lb. pasta preferably a tube shaped pasta. Also you definitely need more bechamel sauce. The sauce on Greek pastitsio sits on top of the dish at least 1 inch thick. You really don’t need the cream. Plain milk will do. 2 quarts milk, 2 cup flour and 8 eggs. The amount of butter you use should be 1 stick but cutting down on that amount will not affect the taste. AND a very large pan. A lasagna pan will accomodate nicely.
I’ve never made pastisio, I always depend on my local greek restaurant for those cravings because it’s the best greek food I’ve ever had. But heck I should try it! And I’m also a huge believer in eating what I want. I also work my butt off at work and at the gym so I deserve some fat-kid activities.
I will join you in the carb love. It doesn’t even matter what kind of carbs it is! Beef AND lamb? Swoon.