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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.

Pastichio-570

Greek Pastitsio

Ingredients

 

Meat Sauce

  • 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

 

Béchamel Sauce

  • 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)

 

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

 

Meat Sauce

  1. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil.
  2. Add onions and cook until soft.
  3. Add tomato paste, garlic, oregano and cinnamon. Cook until mixture starts to darken.
  4. Add ground beef and lamb. Cook until meat is no longer pink.
  5. Add wine. Let simmer until wine has reduced to about 1 tablespoon.
  6. Add tomato sauce and simmer until thick – about 10 minutes.
  7. Stir in Parmesan cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Remove from heat.

 

Béchamel Sauce

  1.  In a separate pan, melt the butter for the béchamel sauce.
  2. Add flour and stir to combine.
  3. Stir in milk and cream and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and reduce sauce down to about 4 cups, about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat once thickened.
  6. Add 1 cup of Romano cheese and stir until smooth.
  7. Using a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine prepared noodles and 2 cups of béchamel sauce.
  8. Stir and smooth out in bottom of pan.
  9. To the remaining 2 cups of béchamel sauce, add the eggs and yogurt.
  10. In a small bowl, beat the 3 eggs.
  11. 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.
  12. Stir in yogurt.
  13. Take the above remaining sauce and spread over the top of the meat.
  14. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese on top.
  15. Bake 35 minutes.
  16. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

 

debimugChef 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, mealslikemoms@me.com and via Facebook.

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