Pastitso

23 September 2014

Pastitso

Layered, baked macaroni with a seasoned tomato-cinnamon meat sauce topped with creamy béchamel and cheese sauce.
Serves 8 – 10

1 lbs thick pasta (ziti or #2 long noodles available in specialty food stores)
2 lbs lean ground beef
½ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg
2 cups fresh or canned tomatoes
2 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup melted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten with yolks
1 egg white, beaten
½ cup bread crumbs

Heat oil and sauté onion and garlic until onions are transparent. Add meat and cook until brown. Pour off any excess fat. Add parsley, cinnamon, nutmeg, tomato sauce, and dash of sugar. Cook uncovered over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Add salt and pepper, cool for five minutes and add ½ cup of grated cheeses and set aside. Boil pasta in salted water until tender, drain and rinse. Combine macaroni with ¾ cups grated parmesan cheese, butter and 1 egg.

Prepare four cups of thick Bechamel sauce. Spread half of the pasta over the bottom of a 12”x14” buttered ovenproof pan (glass, clay or metal). Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Place meat mixture on top and cover with remaining past. Pour the Bechamel sauce evenly over the top and sprinkle with any remaining grated cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for one hour or until top is golden and puffy. Cool for 10 minutes, then cut into serving pieces and serve hot with a Greek village salad.

A great recipe for company and can be frozen uncooked or it can be prepared a day in advance. For vegetarians, sautéed vegetables and chickpeas can be substituted for the meat.

Bechamel Sauce

6 cups warm milk
6 large eggs, beaten
¾ cup flour
1 ½ sticks of butter (not margarine)
Dash nutmeg
Salt and white pepper to taste

First you make a roux! In a 4 quart saucepan melt butter. Add flour and cook for five minutes or until golden, stirring constantly until think like a paste. Gradually add warm milk constantly stirring with a whisk until smooth. Remove saucepan from heat. In a blender or food processor beat eggs until frothy. With machine running add 2 cups of hot mixture to eggs and beat well. Slowly return contents of blender to saucepan, stirring constantly until mixture is thick and smooth.

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