Pastitsio may look like a lasagne but don’t be fooled by its looks, it’s totally different to its Italian counterpart, this Greek pasta uses a different pasta and usually uses lamb as it primary meat ingredient spiced with cloves and cinnamon cooked in tomatoes and red wine.
Lasagne it may look but do you know it is more related to an Italian dish with the same name, the pasticcio, a large family type of savoury pie made with either meat, fish or pasta prepared over a pastry crust and sometimes topped with béchamel sauce. Pasticcio came from the Latin word pastīcium which means pie and was used to describe “a mess”, “a tough situation”, or a pastiche.
The Greek pastisio does not have the curst but it uses bucatini or other tubular pasta where meat is either mixed or placed on top. Béchamel used is quite different as well as it uses egg yolks in addition to the usual flour, butter and milk.
It is a lovely dish, with the added spices it gives it an extra edge over the usual lasagne, don’t get me wrong as both are good but if you want a bit of change from the usual one then this dish is for you.
- 400 g lean minced beef
- 400 g lean minced lamb
- 400 g chopped tomatoes
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp honey
- 200 ml red wine
- 1 pc bay leaf
- 1 pc cinnamon stick
- 1 pc clove
- 2 medium sized red onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup butter
- 3½ cups full cream milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- In a large pan add olive oil then sauté onions until soft.
- Add the garlic then continue to sauté until fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste, beef and lamb then cook until they are all separated and light brown in colour.
- Pour the red wine then bring it to a boil. Add the tomatoes, honey, cinnamon, clove, bay leaf then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook in medium heat while covered for 30 minutes, stir it occasionally.
- Once cooked remove the bay leaf, clove and cinnamon. Set it aside.
- Under cook your pasta by 3 minutes according to packet instructions.
- Drain pasta then stir in the eggs and feta cheese. Set it aside.
- In a pot melt the butter in medium low heat.
- Once butter is totally melted, slowly add the flour while continuously whisking it until it forms into a roux.
- Slowly add the milk while continuously whisking. Cook in very low heat until the sauce is thick. Remove from heat then add the egg yolks, Parmigiano-Reggiano and nutmeg, whisk to combine evenly.
- In a large baking dish, grease the bottom and sides with small amount of olive oil.
- Lay down the pasta then top with meat sauce, do this in three layers.
- Pour béchamel sauce on top then place in a 180C preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until its cooked and top is golden brown. Let it cool for 10 minutes then serve.