Pastitsio is a traditional Greek dish made with ground beef, pasta, and a thick bechamel (cream) sauce. Here is our version which omits the sweet spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon that traditionally go in this dish.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning or 1 teaspoon all purpose Greek seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons sliced kalamata olives (optional)
- 1 cup diced tomatoes or 1 cup sliced roasted red pepper
- 1⁄4 cup white wine or 1⁄4 cup red wine
- 12 ounces ziti pasta
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup 2% low-fat milk or 1 cup half-and-half
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1⁄4 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry ground mustard
- 1 1⁄2 cups half-and-half
- 1⁄2 cup chicken stock
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 1⁄2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- MEAT LAYER: Preheat oven to 350°F Melt butter in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add onion and garlic and saute' for 2-3 minutes. Add beef and seasonings. When meat is cooked thru, drain off fat, return to pan and add the olives, tomatoes, and white wine. Simmer uncovered about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- PASTA: Cook pasta according to package directions. Mix remaining pasta ingredients and place in a large bowl. When pasta is cooked, drain and immediately stir into the large bowl, mixing well.
- BECHAMEL SAUCE: In a medium saucepan over moderate heat, melt butter. Add flour, salt, black pepper, and dry ground mustard. Stir for about 1 minute. Slowly wisk in half and half and chicken stock to incorporate. Stir constantly till thickened (about 5 minutes).
- Remove from heat. Add a little of the bechamel to the egg to temper it, then wisk egg mixture back into pot and add the parmesan cheese. Stir until well blended.
- ASSEMBLY: To a large loaf pan or a deep oven-proof casserole pan (10"), place half the pasta mixture. Pour 1 cup of the bechamel sauce over top. then place meat layer over top of that. Top that with another cup of the bechamel.
- Place remaining pasta over that, then the remaining bechamel. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow to set for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
This definitely benefits from sitting overnight. When we had it the first night, it was just OK and I would have rated it a 3 but after sitting overnight I changed my mind to a 4. Thanks for posting.
Had this before at a friends house years ago and forgot all about it til I discovered it here! It is a keeper...for sure! Jelly
Delicious! I, too, added a little more seasoning and have tried it with and without olives, with different noodles, with a dash of cinnamon/nutmeg, and with ground turkey. Both times it came out delicious even with so many substitutions. Try this - you can't go wrong. Yummy! Thanks for sharing.