Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Fun - Savor the Flavor of: Pastichio

We love Greek cuisine and pastichio is one of my favorite dishes. Basically a casserole, pastichio derives its name from an Italian word which means "hodge-podge" - the perfect recipe to share on a day that my Friday fun theme is a little bit of this, a little bit of that!

Seasoned ground beef, pasta, and cheese layered with a rich bechamel-like cream sauce make this tasty dish an entree that's definitely worth the time and preparation involved. Add a light Greek salad and you have a feast fit for a king. Leftovers reheat well and like most casseroles, often taste better the second day, so don't be afraid to make a big pan!

Pastichio
 
Ingredients

Seasoned Pasta
  • 1 pound dry ziti pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 dash ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
Meat Layer
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (If you like lamb, use half ground lamb, half ground beef!)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Cream Sauce
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
Topping
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Nutmeg

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and return to pan.

Melt butter with olive oil until golden brown and pour over ziti, add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, pepper and toss well; allow to cool. Add eggs and toss again; set aside.

To make meat sauce:
Gently fry onion and garlic in olive oil in a skillet until onion is soft. Increase heat and add ground beef; stir well. Cook until meat begins to brown. Add tomato paste, wine, broth, parsley, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

To make cream sauce:
Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour and cook gently for 2 minutes. Pour in milk all at once and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil gently for 1 minute. Add nutmeg, salt, pepper and cool slightly before stirring in beaten egg. Transfer 1/2 cup of this sauce to the meat sauce.

To assemble pastitsio:
Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Mix 1/2 cup of the cream sauce with the ziti. Spoon half of the prepared ziti evenly in the bottom and top with meat sauce. Top that with remaining ziti. Pour on remaining cream sauce and spread to completely cover ziti. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese on top and sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.

Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve. (8 servings)

Opa!

2 comments:

Kitty said...

That looks so yummy! I'm definitely gonna have to give that a try. I bet it would make for some tasty after-midnight leftover bingeing!

mysticwynd said...

MmmHmmmmmm...It is...You'll be glad you tried it!

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