Pastitsio is one of my favorite dishes, perhaps because I am half Greek! I sometimes prepare it in disposable foil pans to give away as a food gift. Cinnamon and nutmeg are traditionally used in authentic Greek pastitsio, but can be omitted if desired.
- 8 ounces bucatini pasta or 8 ounces ziti pasta
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1⁄3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1⁄3 cup milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1⁄2 cup chopped onion
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried mint flakes (optional)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1⁄3 cup parmesan cheese
- Cook macaroni; drain, and return to pan.
- Stir in the melted butter, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup milk, and the egg; set aside.
- In a a skillet or large saucepan, cook ground beef and onion until meat loses its pinkness and onion is soft; drain excess fat.
- Stir in tomato sauce, the 1 teaspoon salt, mint flakes (if used), cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper; set aside.
- In a saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter, then mix in flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Slowly stir in the 2 cups milk, stirring well after each addition so that no lumps form.
- Cook and stir on medium high until cream sauce starts to thicken; stir for one minute more, then remove from heat.
- Beat egg in a small bowl, then pour into cream sauce, stirring briskly.
- Blend in the 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Layer half the pasta mixture in a 11" x 7" (or 2 quart) baking dish.
- Spoon the meat mixture evenly on top, then the remaining pasta.
- Pour cream sauce over top, to cover completely.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350F for about 40 minutes, or until hot and lightly browned.
- Let stand for 10 minutes.
This is such a delicious dish. I grew up in a 2-flat owned by the Greek family who lived upstairs. The Yaya was such a wonderful cook, and so patient with all of us kids in her kitchen. She made pastitsio for us, and shared the recipe with our mom, as well as several other of her specialty dishes. This recipe is really excellent, and tastes just like Yaya's, and Mom's pastitsio. I wouldn't change a thing! Thank you truebrit, and thanks for making this with real-food ingredients. :)
People! Please do some google searches on fat. It's not the demon it had been made out to be in the past. Fat does not cause heart disease, nor does it make you fat. Read the labels on butter substitutes including margarine and low-fat, fat-free alternatives. The labels should make you cringe. Do you really think all those chemicals are better for you than good, healthy, natural butter?
This was excellent. It tasted exactly like my Greek girlfriends pastitsio. The only thing was there wasn't enough sauce. Maybe I made too much pasta...I don't know but I will definitely make it again.
UPDATE: I continue to make this recipe, I double the amount of tomato sauce and double the Bechemel. I also mix the pasta with the meat mixture to give an even consistency. I thicken the Bechemel till it is almost "stiff", I also leave it under the broiler @ the end to give some brown marks. My friends Pastitsio has a real thick and fluffy Bechemel. I am just trying to make it more like the version my Greek friend makes. The recipe does use a lot of pots and pans but is worth it.
Very delicious! The only change I made was to make 1.5x the Bechamel, Personal preference. It was just wonderful, and my guests loved it. Also, the mint is listed as optional, but I think it's very important to the overall taste.