Awesome Pastitsio Recipe
If you've never tried Pastitsio , you're in for a real treat when you experiment with this recipe. This is a rich meat and pasta casserole that is a wonderful one-dish meal for a chilly winter evening. It requires several ingredients, but is quite easy to make. This definitely isn't a low fat or low calorie dish, but it is a terrific treat to enjoy on special occasions.
- 1 medium onion, chopped (yellow or white)
- 1 clove of minced garlic
- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (I used ground sirloin or ground round)
- 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1 can of tomato sauce (15 ounces)
- 5 tablespoons of butter
- 1/4 of a cup of flour
- 2 cups of milk (2% or full fat)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 8 ounces of pasta (elbow macaroni is traditionally used, but any tubular past will work)
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
To prepare Pastitsio, you will need to make a meat sauce, a white sauce, and prepare the pasta before combining everything to bake.
To Make the Meat Sauce:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and sauté onion and garlic until soft. Add ground beef to the skillet. Sauté until brown, breaking into small pieces. Drain any excess oil from meat. Stir in tomato sauce, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Remove from heat.
To Make the White Sauce:
In a saucepan, melt three tablespoons of the butter. Whisk in the flour and add milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thickened. Add salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Remove from heat.
To Prepare the Pasta:
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot you cooked it in. Add the eggs and the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Mix well.
Baking the Pastitsio:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. You are going to layer the different components of the dish in a casserole dish. You can use a 10 X 13 baking dish, or a deep baker of smaller dimensions.
Layer as follows:
1/2 the pasta mixture
1/2 the white sauce
1/2 the meat
1/2 of the cheddar cheese
Repeat layers, using all remaining ingredients
Sprinkle a little bit of additional nutmeg on the top of the casserole, if desired.
Bake for approximately one hour. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
This dish is a complete meal in and of itself. It is delicious served with Greek salad and crusty French bread. It also goes well with a side dish of seasoned green beans.