Thursday, July 28, 2011


If you like lasagna, You will LOVE Pastitsio. It's is basically a Greek lasagna, with everything baked in one dish. This is Ina Garten's recipe that I somehow got ahold of and make it for my family.

For the tomato -meat sauce

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 c chopped yellow onion (1 lrg onion)
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb lean ground lamb
1/2 c dry red wine
1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 large cloves)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (yes!)
1 tsp dried  oregano
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes in puree
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

For the Bechamel (yogurt cream sauce)

1 1/2 c whole milk
1 c heavy cream
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 c fresh grated Parmesan or Kasseri cheese
2/3 c Greek style yogurt such as Fage Total
12 oz (3/4 lb) small shell noodles
2 extra large eggs, beaten


For the sauce, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the beef and lamb, and saute over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until it's no longer pink, crumbling it with the back of wooden spoon. Drain off any excess liquid, add the wine, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the garlic, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, and cayenne, and continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 45 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the bechamel, heat the milk and cream together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until simmering. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Pour the warm milk and cream mixture into the butter and flour mixture, whisking constantly. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until smooth and thick. Add the nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Stir in 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of the tomato and meat sauce, and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the eggs and yogurt and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Don't over-cook because the pasta will later be baked. Drain and set aside.

Sprinkle fresh bread crumbs on the bottom of the baking dish to make removing the cut pieces (when prepared and cooked) easy to do. Add the pasta to the meat and tomato sauce, and pour the mixture into a baking dish. Spread the bechamel evenly to cover the pasta and sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for 1 hour, until golden brown and bubbly. Set aside for 10 minutes and serve hot.

Foodie Friday Contributor

1 comment:

Cass @ That Old House said...

oh WOW Leigh~ this looks great. I've never seen a pastitsio recipe using yogurt in the Bechamel - that is brilliant. Leave it to Ina, one of my heroes.

She is like video valium for cooks.
Soooo calm.

Pastitsio is a popular diner dish around here, but now I'm going to have to make it myself!