Pastitsio

  Pastitsio recipe pictures

I am so excited to share this recipe with you! Ever since the beginning days of LLP, Jen and I have talked about her being a guest blogger and sharing her famous Greek recipe. It has FINALLY happened! #livelovepastitsio

Growing up, Jen and her family were the only people I knew that were Greek. I understand now that being Greek isn’t all that obscure but when I was younger it seemed that way. What can I say…I was/am a pretty sheltered person! So when we were little, we would say things like “is this feta?” (to.all.of.the.cheeses) and “Yia Yia Pya Pyas” in cute (aka annoying) voices. And of course we still do it today, because inside jokes never get old! Right?

Pastitsio, pronounced pahs-TEET-see-o (I think) is basically a pasta dish layered with meat and béchamel. And it is definitely a special occasion recipe. First because it is delicious and decadent. Second because it serves a crowd, easily 8-10 peeps. And third, it’s not exactly a recipe you can whip up quickly.

When we were making the pastitsio I was imagining it would be similar to the Italian pastas I grew up with. I mean…meat sauce + noodles…how different could it be? It turns out that it’s totally different! For starters, it is not at all saucy. I was actually shocked with how little liquid went into it. Don’t worry though, it’s not dry! Also, the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg completely changed the flavor profile. Usually when I use nutmeg it is a very small amount and I can never really tell if I can even taste it. But with pastitsio, nutmeg is added to each component so the flavor definitely comes through. The cinnamon and nutmeg give it a tiny hint of sweetness and warmth.

We ended up dividing our pastitsio into 2 8×8 baking dishes so that Jen could take one home and we could have one for ourselves. I am absolutely loving it! Thanks for sharing Jen! Let’s not wait 3 more years for more guest blogging! <3

Pastitsio recipe pictures

My Greek bff…teaching me her cooking skills :)

Pastitsio recipe pictures

Here’s what you’ll need. Also note that Jen’s uncle wrote a Greek cookbook. How cool!

Pastitsio recipe pictures

Start by cooking the onions and garlic, just until softened and translucent

Pastitsio recipe pictures

Brown the meat. Then add the spices, tomato sauce and paste, plus broth and wine

Pastitsio recipe pictures

While the meat sauce simmers away, start the bechamel

Pastitsio recipe pictures

whisk whisk whisk

Pastitsio recipe pictures

After it has thickened and cooked set aside to cool. You’ll add the eggs and cheese later

Pastitsio recipe pictures

Heat olive oil and butter in a large pot then toss in the pasta. Make sure to coat all the pasta

Pastitsio recipe pictures

In goes the cheese

Pastitsio recipe pictures

and the beaten eggs

Pastitsio recipe pictures

We also mix in some of the meat sauce and some of the bechamel sauce

Pastitsio recipe pictures

Now it’s time to assemble: a pasta layer topped with a meat layer

Pastitsio recipe pictures

Topped with another pasta layer

Pastitsio recipe pictures

Topped with a bechamel layer and a final sprinkling of cheese. Into the oven it goes!

Pastitsio recipe pictures

We’ve waited 3+ years to make Pastitsio. Thanks Jen, for sharing!

Pastitsio recipe pictures
Pastitsio
Pastitsio recipe pictures
Serves 10
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For the Meat Sauce
  1. 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 small onion, finely diced
  4. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1 pound ground beef
  6. 1 pound ground lamb
  7. 1 small can tomato paste
  8. 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  9. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  10. 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  11. 1 tablespoon salt
  12. ½ teaspoon pepper
  13. ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  14. ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  15. ½ cup dry red wine
  16. ½ cup chicken broth
  17. 2 egg whites
For the Bechamel
  1. ½ cup butter
  2. 1 cup flour
  3. 4 cups milk (we used 2%)
  4. ¾ cup Mizithra cheese, grated (can substitute parmesan and/or romano)
  5. ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  6. salt and pepper, to taste
  7. 2 whole eggs + 2 egg yolks, beaten
For the Noodles
  1. 1 pound ziti, cooked to al dente
  2. ½ cup butter, melted
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. ¾ cup Mizithra cheese, grated
  5. ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  6. 2 eggs, beaten
Instructions
  1. Start with the Meat Sauce. Heat butter and olive oil in large pan or dutch oven and sauté the onions and garlic until softened and translucent, a couple minutes. Add the ground beef and ground lamb, breaking apart with a wooden spoon as it browns. Stir in tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Add parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg, plus the broth and wine. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the liquid has absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Once completely cooled, stir in the egg whites (save the yolks for the béchamel).
  3. While the meat is cooling, start the béchamel. Melt butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. Add flour and cook for 2 minutes, whisking continuously. Pour in milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  4. Once slightly cool, mix in the cheese and beaten eggs.
  5. Last step is the pasta. In a large pot, melt together butter and olive oil. Toss in the cooked pasta and make sure all the noodles are coated. Stir in cheese and nutmeg. Let cool before mixing in the beaten eggs.
  6. Stir in about ¼ of the béchamel and ¼ of the meat into the noodles.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 (or two 8x8) baking dish. They freeze well. Spread ½ of the noodle mixture into an even layer. Spread all of the meat sauce over the noodles. Pour the remaining ½ of the noodles over the meat. Pour the béchamel over the top and sprinkle some extra mizithra on top.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven, let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. Make sure you cook the pasta just to al dente, it will continue to cook in the oven.
Adapted from Jen Gattuso, friend of Live Love Pasta
Adapted from Jen Gattuso, friend of Live Love Pasta
livelovepasta http://livelovepasta.com/
Pastitsio recipe pictures

Comments

  1. Cindy Snipes says

    I used to have a Greek next door neighbor. She made wonderful food. I especially loved the Greek Easter Bread at Easter. Of course the Baklava was wonderful, also.

    I really like your site.

    Cindy

  2. Jen says

    Thanks for allowing to be a guest blogger – I had a blast sharing my recipe with you guys! Can’t wait for round 2 :)

  3. Christine Pellum says

    And me and my family were the very lucky ones who ate this delicious dish!!!! Thank you, Jen and Kelly! It was perfect comfort food and tons of leftovers…most of which are gone because nothing in the fridge could top it! YUM!

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