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Old 03-17-2012, 12:59 PM   #1
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Greek Traditional Pastitsio

This Sicilian and Greek dish is a classic made with bechamel, ground beef, tomato sauce and cheese.

This is a Greek tradtional version that I had learnt to prepare in Greece where I lived for one year back in 1994.

Extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup
onions finely chopped 3 medium
lean ground beef 1 1/2 pounds
large minced garlic clove 1
6 small ripe juicy plum tomatoes de-seeded, peeled and chopped finely
cinammon stick 1
ground allspice a pinch
whole cloves 4
black pepper corns crushed in mortar with pestle 10
salt to taste
rigatoni or penne macaroni pasta or thick tube spaghetti
French bechamel white sauce 6 cups
egg yolks beaten 2
cheese grating type reggiano parmesano of choice 1 cup
cheese of choice grated 4 ounces ( pecorino sardo or provolone aged with herbs )

1. in large skillet, heat 2 tblsps of E.V. Olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent 5 to 6 mins.
2. add the meat and continue stirring until meat begins to brown
3. add garlic, tomatoes, spices, peppercorns and salt to taste
4. lower heat and simmer covered 35 minutes until liquid has been absorbed and meat is cooked
5. remove skillet from heat and let meat cool slightly and remove whole spices
6. while the meat is simmering, boil the macaroni to al dente
7. remove and drain macaroni and shock into cold water
8. drain and toss with E.V. olive oil and half the grated cheese
9. preheat oven to: 180 centig or 350 farenheit degrees
10. make the becahmel white sauce
11. when done, whisk in the yolks, and the remaining cheese and toss the pasta with a bit of the white sauce
12. now lightly oil the baking dish and spread half of this pastitsio mixture on the bottom layer
13. now carefully pour in meat sauce spreading evenly over the pasta and sprinkle with 2 tblsps cheese
14. Make a 2nd layer of the macaroni and pour another layer of bechamel over pasta making sure it is spread evenly and up to the top
15. sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake 45 minutes until bechamel thickens and swells and a golden brown crust forms on top

Yield: 6 to 8 portions

Margaux Cintrano.

*** one can substitute Greek cheeses Anthotyro or Myzithra or Kefalotyri

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Old 03-17-2012, 02:06 PM   #2
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This is one of my favorite comfort-food dishes. Hard to find ground lamb, but I prefer ground beef. I add cinnamon, tomato paste and some red wine to the mixture. Sometimes, a handful of raisins. Fresh nutmeg for the bechamel.

A recipe that is close to mine (with my alterations/changes):

Greek Recipes with May Lerios: Pastitsio

It's a little time consuming, but worth the effort. Thank you for sharing your recipe.
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Old 03-17-2012, 02:08 PM   #3
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I shall try your suggestions next time I prepare it. Saturday is always pasta Italian day at our home.

Thanks for suggestion and posting. Have nice evening.

Margi.
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Old 03-17-2012, 02:11 PM   #4
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Margi, thanks for posting this. I love this dish and haven't made it for ages. I will try your version soon!
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Old 03-17-2012, 02:14 PM   #5
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Thanks for lovely message. Have great wkend ... and pleased that u shall try my Sicilian via Greece recipe !

Margi.
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Old 03-17-2012, 07:28 PM   #6
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In Venezuela there is a version of this called pasticho. Which is a thin layered version of Italian lasagna with a mixture of different cheeses bechamel and bolognese. I always found American lasagna pasta layers to be too thick.
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Old 03-17-2012, 11:42 PM   #7
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I know most of you like food stories. When I was a young woman (24 or so), working at the Pentagon, I had an ex-sister in law going to college,and she had a buddy. A couple of times we decided to go on camping trips. I could check out tents from the military, we'd pool money for some wine, and each bring stuff for grilling over coals. I was a somewhat experienced camper compared to the two of them (grew up in as a sergeant's daughter, and sometimes camping was the only way), but ... this other gal's mother was Greek, and every time we went out she brought pastichio in an aluminum casserole dish. We'd set up out tent, start a fire, and it was still warm, so we just placed it near the fire. By the time we were ready for dinner ... well it was wonderful.
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Old 03-18-2012, 06:36 AM   #8
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@ Claire: Thanks so much for ur lovely anecdote

Thanks so much for sharing your lovely anecdote ... Truly enjoyable ...

Yes, I have to say that it is one of those classics and certainly worth the laboral aspect in the kitch ... The aromas are just divinity too ...

Normally, Saturday is Italian Pasta Day at our loft in Madrid ... I have access to most Greek products through the Kerasma ( Greek Ministry of Agricultural and Export ) at the: El Corte Ingles Super Market in downtown Madrid Capital.

The Vet works on Saturday until 14.00 hrs., and an Italian baked hot dish are always his favorites. He is Italian, not Spanish.

Yesterday was Guiness Stout marinated cornbeef due to St. Patrick´s and a dear colleague of mine, who is Irish and her Spanish gent who I had invited for the " fiesta " ... However, normally Saturday is pasta.

So, today is Pasta Day instead, and this is on the carte, with a simple green salad afterwards, which is very Mediterranean, for digestive reasons. Arugula, fennel and cherry plump ripe tomato and a bit of spring onion, and Modena Balsamic with E.V. olive oil ... simple and a good glass of red wine from the Ribera de Duero region of Spain ...

Have a lovely Sunday and thanx again.

Margi.
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Old 03-18-2012, 06:40 AM   #9
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@DC Gator,

Good to see you again ! Haven´t seen you online for quite sometime, since the Home Made Mozzarella project. How is that going ? How are u ?

In Greece, it is typical to make the dish with a penne macacroni verses lasagne sheets, as Moussaka is made with lasagne sheets ... However, one can make their own pasta too ... or select a macaroni to their individual liking. This is why pasta dishes are so versatile. There are over 3.000 shapes, colors and sizes ... The aromas of this dish are divine, coming from the oven ... I am going to put a few raisins too --- I am making it in an hour or so ...

Thanx for posting.
Margi.
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Margi Cintrano View Post
Thanks so much for sharing your lovely anecdote ... Truly enjoyable ...

Yes, I have to say that it is one of those classics and certainly worth the laboral aspect in the kitch ... The aromas are just divinity too ...

Normally, Saturday is Italian Pasta Day at our loft in Madrid ... I have access to most Greek products through the Kerasma ( Greek Ministry of Agricultural and Export ) at the: El Corte Ingles Super Market in downtown Madrid Capital.

The Vet works on Saturday until 14.00 hrs., and an Italian baked hot dish are always his favorites. He is Italian, not Spanish.

Yesterday was Guiness Stout marinated cornbeef due to St. Patrick´s and a dear colleague of mine, who is Irish and her Spanish gent who I had invited for the " fiesta " ... However, normally Saturday is pasta.

So, today is Pasta Day instead, and this is on the carte, with a simple green salad afterwards, which is very Mediterranean, for digestive reasons. Arugula, fennel and cherry plump ripe tomato and a bit of spring onion, and Modena Balsamic with E.V. olive oil ... simple and a good glass of red wine from the Ribera de Duero region of Spain ...

Have a lovely Sunday and thanx again.

Margi.
Today being pasta day .... isn't today an Italian saint's day? I'm trying to remember who. My husband always said the day after St Patrick's day you have pasta because it's Saint (?)(Joseph? But he's not more Italian than any other, is he?) Day.
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