pastitsio

a recipe by
Francine Lizotte
Surrey South, BC

This dish is like having Italian lasagna but a Greek version, packed with wonderful flavors!

serves 12 servings
prep time 30 Min
cook time 2 Hr
method Bake

Ingredients For pastitsio

  • MEAT SAUCE
  • 2 Tbsp
    olive oil
  • 2 c
    white onions, chopped
  • ground himalayan sea salt, to taste and divided
  • 1 lb
    ground lamb
  • 1 lb
    ground beef
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste and divided (i always use mixed peppercorns)
  • 4 lg
    cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 Tbsp
    tomato paste
  • 1/2 c
    dry red wine
  • 1 can
    (28 oz./796 ml.) fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp
    granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp
    dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp
    dried oregano
  • 1 tsp
    ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground cloves
  • 1 lg
    bay leaf
  • 3/4 tsp
    cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • BÉCHAMEL SAUCE
  • 6 Tbsp
    unsalted butter
  • 6 Tbsp
    unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 c
    whole milk, warmed
  • 1/4 tsp
    freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground himalayan sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp
    white pepper
  • 2
    egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 1/4 c
    kefalotyri cheese, finely grated
  • PASTA
  • 16 oz
    bucatini pasta #2 (substitute ziti or penne)
  • 1 Tbsp
    coarse himalayan sea salt
  • 2
    egg whites
  • 1 c
    kefalotyri cheese, finely grated
  • TOPPING
  • 2 1/2 c
    finely grated kefalotyri cheese, divided
  • 1 Tbsp
    finely chopped parsley, for garnish

How To Make pastitsio

  • 1
    MEAT SAUCE:
  • 2
    In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and when hot, add onions and sprinkle on ground sea salt; sauté for 2 minutes.
  • 3
    Add ground lamb and ground beef; cook until browned, breaking into small pieces. Halfway through cooking, season with freshly ground black pepper before adding pressed garlic; stir well.
  • 4
    When the meat is almost done; add tomato paste. Stir until well combined and finish cooking the meat.
  • 5
    Add dry red wine, stir, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until the liquid is evaporated including the fat, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • 6
    Add fire roasted crushed tomatoes, granulated sugar, thyme leaves, oregano, cinnamon, ground cloves, freshly ground black pepper and ground sea salt. Stir to blend and add bay leaf.
  • 7
    Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer gently for 30 to 35 minutes or until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. If desired, add cayenne pepper to the mixture.
  • 8
    When time is up and the sauce is thick, discard the bay leaf and remove from the heat and let it cool off while making the béchamel sauce.
  • 9
    BÉCHAMEL SAUCE:
  • 10
    In a 4-quart pot over medium heat, add butter and when melted, add flour; whisk the roux for 5 minutes.
  • 11
    Pour in the warm milk while whisking continuously until all incorporated and the sauce is smooth with no lumps. Add freshly grated nutmeg, ground sea salt and white pepper; whisk until well blended.
  • 12
    Temper the egg yolks by scooping up some béchamel and slowly adding it to them, whisking constantly. After a few ladles, add warmed yolks to the pot and whisk them into the mixture.
  • 13
    Add a ¼ cup at a time of Kefalotyri cheese and whisk until well incorporated between each addition. Keep the sauce warm while looking after the pasta.
  • 14
    PASTA:
  • 15
    In a large pot, boil salted water before adding the noodles. Cook 3 minutes LESS than the package directions.
  • 16
    When time is up, drain very well before returning the pasta back to the pot. Add egg whites and cheese; stir gently to coat.
  • 17
    ASSEMBLY:
  • 18
    Preheat oven to 350ºF/177ºC
  • 19
    Place pasta mixture in a large 9x13x3-inch deep baking dish, lightly greased. Arrange the noodles lengthwise to get them lined up, using a pasta fork or clean hands.
  • 20
    Top the noodles with the meat sauce and evenly spread it out, pressing it down gently and leveling it out. Sprinkle on 1 cup of cheese before pouring in béchamel sauce; spread it out evenly and smoothing out the surface with a spatula. Sprinkle on 1 ½ cups of cheese to evenly cover the entire surface.
  • 21
    Place the baking dish on a large baking sheet just in case it overflows and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top starts getting a little brown.
  • 22
    When time is up, put the broiler on “low” and continue to bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until nice and brown.
  • 23
    Carefully remove from the heat, sprinkle on some fresh chopped parsley and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving so it stays together for a nice presentation.
  • 24
    To view this recipe on YouTube, click on this link >>>> https://youtu.be/i98CdmRDcRY
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT