It has been a long time since I showed you my cooking skills and I think it is time to show you some of my native cuisine that you love to taste when you visit my country…For today the menu has pastitsio…yeap that tasty thing with this sause ;););).
So girls if you are on a diet , please don’t make it….It has tons of calories and you will feel guilty later…But it is so tasteful …All this combination with the pasta and bechamel and the meat filling..It melts in your mouth…..Mmmmmm……Someone must stop me.. I said so much….LoL
Let’s begin with the basics
1/2 cup olive oil
2 lbs. ground beef (or ground lamb, or a mixture of both)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 14 oz. can tomato puree or sauce
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (or Kefalotyri if available)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. bread crumbs
1 pkg. #2 Macaroni for Pastitsio (500g)- available at Greek groceries. (Or other macaroni is acceptable -penne , rigatonni …)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
For the bechamel sauce:
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 quart milk, warmed
8 egg yolks, beaten lightly
a pinch of ground nutmeg
Begin with the Meat Filling:
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add onions and cook until they take a golden colour.Add ground beef and cook over medium-high heat until pink color disappears. Cook until they are translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add wine, tomato sauce, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and pepper and allow sauce to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. While sauce is simmering put water on to boil for pasta.Don’t forget to cut the pasta in the middle otherwise they will be very long to handle.
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well ( I think about 13 minutes . Rinse noodles in colander under cold water to cool them slightly.
Melt 1/2 cup butter in pasta pot and return cooked noodles to the pot. Add 1 cup of grated cheese and toss lightly, being careful not to break the macaroni.
Brush the bottom and sides of the lasagna pan with olive oil. Layer the bottom with the pasta noodles and press down so that they are somewhat flat.
Add the meat filling in an even layer to the pasta.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees while you prepare the bechamel sauce.
Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Using a whisk, add flour to melted butter whisking continuously to make a smooth paste or roux. Allow the flour/butter mixture to cook for a minute but do not allow it to brown.
Add warmed milk to mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Simmer over low heat until it thickens but does not boil.
Remove from heat and stir in beaten egg yolks. Add pinch of nutmeg.
Make sure that it is thick enough.
Pour the bechamel over the pasta noodles making sure to pour sauce down in to the corners as well. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs . Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 50 minutes or until the top has a nice golden colour.
Enjoy your meal….
And as we say in Greek kali orexi …