Greek Pastitsio

 

 

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS FOR THE MEAT SAUCE

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound ground beef, chuck
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste

INGREDIENTS FOR THE BÉCHAMEL SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup Mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten

INGREDIENTS FOR THE NOODLES

  • 1 lb. pasticcio/ziti
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons butter

INGREDIENTS FOR ASSEMBLING

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup of grated fresh Parmesan
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Directions

PREPARE THE MEAT SAUCE

  1. Heat butter in a large heavy-bottomed pan and saute the onions, garlic and meat until browned over medium heat (season with salt and pepper). 
  2. Add the oregano, parsley, bay leaves, cinnamon, sugar, wine, tomatoes and tomato paste. 
  3. Season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Let simmer for a half hour to 45 minutes. 
  5. Taste and reseason/add more spices if needed about halfway through and again toward the end. 
  6. Remove from heat and let cool off.

PREPARE THE NOODLES

  1. In a large stockpot in a generous amount of salted water cook noodles to al dente. 
  2. Drain, return to pan and stir in butter.

PREPARE THE BÉCHAMEL

  1. Melt butter in heavy saucepan. 
  2. Whisk in the flour and cook for two minutes. 
  3. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. 
  4. Whisk in the milk slowly and bring to a slow simmer, constantly whisking. 
  5. Remove from heat and whisk in quickly the eggs and cheese. 
  6. You can temper the eggs by whisking in a small amount of the béchamel first.

ASSEMBLE THE PASTITSIO

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Butter or baking spray a large deep pan. 
  3. We used a 9×13 casserole with a sheet pan placed underneath it in the oven. 
  4. Add a bit of the béchamel, enough to generously cover the bottom of the pan.
  5. Strain the ground beef mixture, remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick. 
  6. You can add your noodles to a giant bowl or mix right in the large pan that they were cooked in. 
  7. Add the remaining 2 eggs, a ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, 1 cup of the béchamel and the strained beef mixture. 
  8. Combine carefully; try not to break up the noodles.
  9. Add the noodle mixture to the prepared pan.
  10. Layer the rest of the béchamel over the top.
  11. Then sprinkle with Mozzarella and Parmesan.
  12. Our casserole dish was full right to the top and even a little bit above. (We had only one little drip over the side right at the end of baking. The béchamel firms up and stays in place as it cooks.)
  13. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. 
  14. Let sit for five to ten minutes before serving.