Greek Pastitsio and a Lovely Greek woman!
My mother spent a lot of time having her friends over to eat some Indian food. She also learnt a lot of cooking from their diverse ethnicities. Mrs Pandelis was a lovely lady who I would often see in our kitchen with mom. We loved her yummy greek cookin!!
My absolute favorite which I have prepared many a time is the Greek Pastitsio made of ground beef and penne pasta. This pasta dish is ‘a must try’. Thankyou Mrs Pandelis.
I am told that ‘Pastitsio’ loosely translated means ‘A Mess’ 🙂 This is a truly authentic Greek Pastitsio Recipe.
Greek Pastitsio – Video
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Recipe Name: Greek Pastitsio
Recipe Type: Main / Pasta
Author: Shana c/o Recipes ‘R’ Simple
Marination/ Resting Time : 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook time: 1
Total time: 1
Yield: (6-7 servings)
Method with step by step pictures:
For the pasta:
- Cook the pasta till al ‘dente in salted boiling water.
- It will take approximately 15 minutes. Meanwhile, proceed with steps for the filling.
- Drain the cooked pasta. Add butter to prevent stickiness. Set aside.
For the filling:
- Heat Butter in a deep wide pan. Don’t allow to brown.
- Saute onion and garlic till transclucent.
- Add minced beef.
- Stir and cook for 5-6 minutes. The liquids will be released from the mince.
- Allow these liquids to evaporate and the beef to change color.
- When the liquid has evaporated, add all remaining ingredients for the filling except egg white. (Canned tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, chopped parsley, apple juice, salt, pepper, allspice).
- Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, till all the liquid evaporates again.
- Allow to cool. Then add egg whites.
- Stir till meat mixture is glossy. Set aside
- Preheat the oven now to 180°c/350F. If using european setting, have heat elements from top and bottom switched on, while preheating.
For the Sauce (Bechamel):
- Melt butter. Add the flour.
- Stir quickly, till all the flour is mixed. Allow this ‘roux’ to cook briefly without going brown.
- Add milk, a little at a time. Stir to remove lumps. Use a whisk for this.
- The milk will be absorbed and the mixture will thicken.
- Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to suit your taste. Stir again till smooth. You can add a small amount of milk, little by little if it seems too thick.
- Remove from heat. Stir in the eggs, yolks and cheese. Stir till smoothly incorporated.
- Lightly grease an oven proof dish with butter. Use a dish that is large enough to hold all the layers.
- Make the first layer with half of the cooked pasta.
- Sprinkle some cheese over this.
- Add one layer consisting of all the cooked mince meat sauce.
- Add the remaining pasta.
- Sprinkle cheese over this layer too.
- Spread the béchamel sauce over the top to seal the dish.
- Sprinkle some more cheese over the top.
- Bake in a pre heated oven at 180°c/350F on the lower rack. When the dish is put in, I like to turn off the top heating element so that cooking is done from bottom only.
- Bake for 30 minutes in total.
- For the last 7 minutes I like to switch on the top element and turn off the bottom heating element.
- Watch carefully for the last few minutes, you want a nice golden top with cheese that is melted and not burnt.
Greek Pastitsio Recipe
- In the original recipe Dry white wine is used in place of apple juice.
- Apple juice is a good substitute for those who avoid alcohol. Make sure it’s not one of those extra sweet types though.
- You may decide not to use all the sauce and set some aside for another snack. Depends on whether you like a more hefty serving.
- Allspice can be substituted with a combination of powdered cinnamon and cloves.
- Read more about Greek Cuisine.
Key Ingredients: Beef, Penne Pasta, Onion, Tomates, Garlic, Flour, Cheese, Spices, Salt, Butter, Egg, Apple Juice/Wine, Hot Milk.