Greek Pastitsio Recipe
Pastitsio is a hearty lasagna-like Greek dish to warm up your family this autumn.
I have been craving traditional Greek food – Pastitsio in particular. Years ago, I used to work at an authentic Greek restaurant where I learned to make many of Greece’s wonderful dishes. Pastitsio – a dish similar to lasagna with less cheese, a thick layer of bechamel sauce on top and special long, hollow-shaped noodles – was one of my favorites.
I love its versatility to be made gluten-free. Serve with a mixed green salad and dinner is done.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground lamb
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup of flour (sub with brown rice flour to make recipe gluten free)
- 3 cloves of minced garlic
- 3 cups 2 percent milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups of grated Romano cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt
- One box of elbow pasta, cooked according to directions and drained (sub with gluten-free noodles to make recipe gluten free)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil.
- Add onions and cook until soft.
- Add tomato paste, garlic, oregano and cinnamon. Cook until mixture starts to darken.
- Add ground beef and lamb. Cook until meat is no longer pink.
- Add wine. Let simmer until wine has reduced to about 1 tablespoon.
- Add tomato sauce and simmer until thick – about 10 minutes.
- Stir in Parmesan cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from heat.
- In a separate pan, melt the butter for the béchamel sauce.
- Add flour and stir to combine.
- Stir in milk and cream and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium and reduce sauce down to about 4 cups, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat once thickened.
- Add 1 cup of Romano cheese and stir until smooth.
- Using a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine prepared noodles and 2 cups of béchamel sauce.
- Stir and smooth out in bottom of pan.
- To the remaining 2 cups of béchamel sauce, add the eggs and yogurt.
- In a small bowl, beat the 3 eggs.
- Slowly add 1 cup of the béchamel sauce to the eggs, then take the mixture and add it to the last cup of béchamel sauce. Be careful not to scramble the eggs.
- Stir in yogurt.
- Take the above remaining sauce and spread over the top of the meat.
- Sprinkle 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake 35 minutes.
- Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Chef Debi Stuckwisch, of Johnsburg, learned to cook from her mother and grandmother – using fresh ingredients from farm to table. Her company, Meals Like Mom, offers meal services, classes and catering. Reach her at 847.778.9351, firstname.lastname@example.org and via Facebook.