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Old 02-22-2006, 10:08 AM   #1
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Help please-bechamel and pastitsio

Hi guys:) I really need help---

I would like to make a pastitsio and my bechamel sause is comprised of eggs---my question is , can I prepare everything the day before, layer it in a casserole dish, seal it up and refrigerate it, so that I may bake it, as is, the following day?

thanks:)

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Old 02-22-2006, 10:14 AM   #2
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Yes. Everything will keep in the fridge assembled. you cab pop it into the oven the next day.
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Old 02-22-2006, 10:37 AM   #3
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thank you!
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Old 02-22-2006, 10:42 AM   #4
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Welcome to DC.

I love pastitsio, but have always prepared it the same day (all at one time). Do you mind sharing your recipe? TIA
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Old 02-22-2006, 02:05 PM   #5
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Pastitsio Recipe

Here you go

The basics for this recipe was taken from Aki's Kichen Recipes along with my family's twists and variations-It is awesome!

Meat :
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 large onions finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves-minced
  • 1 cup ground tomatoes
  • 1 stick cinammon
  • 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. oregano
  • bay leaf
  • water
Bechamel sauce:
  • 6 cups 3.5% milk
  • 3 cups cream
  • 1.5 cups all purp. flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp: nutmeg, salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup-3/4 grated parmigiana reggiano-
  • 2 tsp. sugar
PASTA:
  • 600 gr. penne/ziti
  • pinch of salt
Meat : In a large pot, add some oil and brown the meat over high heat until beef is no longer pink-drain;set beef aside; in same pot saute onion and garlic in oil(approx. 4 min)Put the beef back in the pot and add the ground tomato and the tomato paste-stir well-add enough water to cover the meat by 2 inches.Add the cinnamon, sugar, oregano and bay leaf-stir occasionally until the mixture turns to a boil-once at boil, reduce heat to med-low, covered for approx. 60 min. Keep on checking on the liquid level-should reduce to 1/3 of the original liquid-if needed adjust with more water ;

make the pasta-note that pasta should be cooked a little more than al dente-but not much more! once done, drain pasta and layer it in your casserole dish;

Bechamel: heat the cream and the milk over high heat for about 4-5 min(it should be hot when you touch it, but not to a boil!). In the meantime , in a large pot, melt the butter over med. heat. When the butter has begun to bubble, add all the flour in one shot, stirring to combine both (the mix should be frothing and bubbly as it cooks)for 4-6 min. or until flour has become slightly tan in color;remove from heat. when the flour mix has been cooked, remove both pots from the heat;

very slowly, using a soup ladle , pour in one ladle of the warmed milk into the flour mixture, all at once, and vigourously combine evrything with the help of a whisk-repeat, one ladle at at a time.

By the second to fifth ladle of milk, the mix will become thicker and thicker. As you add the last few remaining ladles of milk, the cream will thin out to the proper consistency. Add in the remaining milk in the same manner, whisking everything vigorously until mixture has turned into a nice smooth sauce

Return the pot of cream to a medium heat (be patient-do not increase the heat in order to quicken the cooking process-you will just burn it)and slowly stir the sauce, using a flat wooden spoon, until the sauce reaches a boil and has thickened. When at a boil, cook the sauce for 10 - 15 seconds and then remove it from the heat. .

In a medium size bowl, break up the eggs using a whisk.
Take about a ladle's worth of the cooked cream and slowly drip it into the eggs, vigorously mixing everything to combine the two mixtures into one mixture Continue adding in more cream (and whisking) until you feel the side of the bowl becoming warm. This technique allows the eggs' temperature to gradually increase to the sauce's temperature.
Take the warmed egg mixture and whisk it into the large pot of cream, vigorously incorporating everything well Add in the nutmeg, pepper, salt , and 2 tsp. sugar , and whisk well, and then set the cream
aside.

The beef mixture: Remove the cinnamon stick and the bay leaf and then stir the beef mixture to combine the sauce with the beef. Spread the mixture evenly over the laid out pasta . Sprinkle half of the cheese . Pour the bechamel over the beef . Sprinkle the remaining cheese.

Bake for 60-90 minutes, at 350 degrees or until the cream puffs up and has browned to a nice tan color(color will not be even throughout)

Let cool for 30 minutes-Enjoy!
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Old 02-22-2006, 06:59 PM   #6
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Thank you, choc. Have you tried adding raisins to the meat mixture? It gives the dish an extra little zip. I've added cinnamin, but haven't tried a cinnamin stick. Will have to remember that. Appreciate your taking the time to share your recipe.
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