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Pastitsio

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

Layered Greek casserole, similar to lasagna.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE MEAT SAUCE:
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1  Onion, Diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 pounds 93/7 Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Red Wine
  • 14-½ ounces, fluid Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1 piece Cinnamon Stick (4 Inch Size)
  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Cloves Or Allspice
  • 1 Tablespoon Plus 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 3  Bay Leaves
  • ½ cups Water Or Broth
  • 1-½ teaspoon Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • FOR THE PASTA:
  • 1 pound Ditalini Or Other Small Tube Pasta
  • 2  Eggs, Lightly Beaten
  • 2 ounces, weight Grated Parmesan
  • ½ cups Breadcrumbs
  • FOR THE WHITE SAUCE:
  • ½ cups Butter
  • ½ cups Flour
  • 4 cups Milk
  • ½ teaspoons Nutmeg
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste

Preparation

For the meat sauce: Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Then add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the ground beef and brown, breaking up lumps as you go. When meat is browned, add wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, cinnamon, cloves, oregano, bay leaves, broth, salt and pepper and simmer 30-40 minutes. Then remove cinnamon stick and bay leaves.

For the pasta: Cook pasta in boiling salted water, taking 3 minutes off the recommended cooking time that the package states. When done drain off the water and allow pasta to cool slightly. Then stir in eggs and half of the Parmesan cheese. Stir in 1 cup of the white sauce at assembly time.

For the white sauce: Melt butter over medium heat in a large pan. Whisk in flour, stirring about 1 minute until all lumps are gone, then slowly whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

For the assembly:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine the breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan in a bowl. Set aside.

Mentally divide the pasta into three portions, and the meat sauce into 2 portions. Into a large lasagna pan layer as follows: 1/3 of the pasta, 1/2 of the meat sauce, 1/3 of the pasta, the rest of the meat sauce, the rest of the pasta, the white sauce, and the breadcrumbs/Parmesan.

Bake at 350 F for 30-45 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Then remove it from the onen. Let it rest 15 minutes, then serve.

Adapted from Chicho’s Kitchen.

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