Monday, January 4, 2010

Greek Lasagna - Pastitsio

If you're feeding a crowd during the holidays, here is the recipe for you! Everyone loves it and it makes a lot, but freezes well before adding the bechamel sauce. This can also be made ahead and assembled just before baking. Store the meat sauce, cooked pasta and béchamel sauce separately then assemble as the recipe instructs.

I you don't like lamb ( I don't!), use all ground round. This was a big hit with my entire family a couple of years ago. Looks like I'll be making it again this year during the Christmas holidays.

Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)

Tomato Meat Sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground lamb
½ cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Pinch red pepper
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes in puree
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add beef and lamb; cook until no longer pink, stirring to break apart. Drain off any excess liquid, add wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, and red pepper and continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Béchamel or Crema Sauce
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon salt ( or less to taste)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmesan or Kasseri cheese
2/3 cup Greek yogurt

Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat until simmering (do not boil!).
Melt butter in a medium saucepan; add flour and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Pour the warm milk mixture into butter and flour mixture, whisking constantly. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth and thick. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in ¾ cup Parmesan cheese and ½ cup Tomato Meat Sauce. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in yogurt and set aside again.

Cook 12 ounces small pasta shells as directed on package. (Cook al dente as they will cook more when combined with the sauce and baked.) Drain and stir in 1 stick butter until melted.

To assemble the Pastitsio: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a large baking pan (at least 12x14x2-inches) with olive oil.

Combine cooked pasta with Tomato and Meat Sauce; stir in 2 beaten eggs. Pour mixture into the baking dish.
Spread the Béchamel Sauce evenly over the pasta mixture.
Sprinkle with remaining ¾ cup Parmesan cheese.
Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour, until golden brown and bubbly. Set aside for 10 minutes before serving.

No comments :

Post a Comment