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Old 11-01-2010, 09:49 PM   #1
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Pastitsio (aka pasticcio)

Is it me or is this dish very obscure at least compared with lasagna, moussaka or mac & cheese? I only just made my first one & it's not perfect (yet) but it's very tasty, better than most lasagnas I've had before even if they're fairly similar. I wonder if there are any other fans out there, & if anyone can explain why it isn't more commonplace. (if that's actually true of course)

wiki says pasticcio translates literally as "mess" or "scramble" so am I to believe that "anything goes" as far as ingredients? In other words, I could use whatever meat, pasta, cheese & whatnot, that I happen to have laying around?
Pastitsio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

funny that my favourite foods are called "mess" like poutine, griddle hash, & now that I read the wiki thing, pastitsio.

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Old 11-01-2010, 09:57 PM   #2
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I can't say I remember ever hearing about it. But, I looked at the Wiki link and I'm sure I have seen it.

I would rather make lasagna; my pasta maker doesn't do hollow noodles and lasagna noodles are the easiest noodles to make.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baking fool View Post
funny that my favourite foods are called "mess" like poutine, griddle hash, & now that I read the wiki thing, pastitsio.
Sounds like my favorite foods.
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Old 11-02-2010, 03:48 AM   #4
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Pastitsio with Eton Mess for pudding, a mess made in heaven, end of message from Wales.
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baking fool View Post
Is it me or is this dish very obscure at least compared with lasagna, moussaka or mac & cheese? I only just made my first one & it's not perfect (yet) but it's very tasty, better than most lasagnas I've had before even if they're fairly similar. I wonder if there are any other fans out there, & if anyone can explain why it isn't more commonplace. (if that's actually true of course)
It is rather obscure, considering how fabulous it is. It's a traditional Greek dish -- I call it the Greek version of Lasagna, since they are so similar, and the Greek translates to "Pastitsio" in English. I was introduced to it in 8th grade when I went to visit a Greek friend overnight. It was for her Senior Recital, and her Grandmother made a feast, which included it.

When people ask what my favorite version of Lasagne is, I say "Pastitsio!"

I put my version in my cookbook. Here it is for you to try, if you like:

Pastitsio
When you make an elaborate pasta dish, you¹ll want to make it the centerpiece of your meal. All I would serve with this is a salad of tart young greens such as arugula, dandelions or mache, dressed simply with lemon juice and the very fruitiest extra-virgin olive oil you can find. For those of you to whom the name “Pastitsio” is unfamiliar, it is a traditional Greek dish that is a very close cousin to Italian Lasagne.
makes 16 servings
1 cup onions, finely chopped
1 cup + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
2 pounds ground lean lamb
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 cups tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup finely chopped parsley
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 cup dry red wine
1 bay leaf

5 cups half and half
4 cups milk
1 ½ cups flour
freshly grated nutmeg
8 large eggs
2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
¾ pound Kefalotiri cheese, grated
1 ½ pounds ziti, cooked
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. For meat sauce: In a large skillet, cook onion in 3 tablespoons butter. When onion is translucent, add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add meats. Cook over high heat, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon until it is no longer red.
2. Season meat mixture with salt, pepper, tomato sauce, oregano, cinnamon, basil, bay leaf, parsley and wine. Cook the sauce, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. (The dish can be prepared to this point in advance and refrigerated or frozen until you are ready to use it.)

3. For cream sauce: Heat milk and 4 cups half and half just to the boil.
In another saucepan, melt 1 cup butter. Add the flour, stirring with a wire whisk. When the roux is blended and smooth, pour in the hot milk and cream, stirring vigorously with the whisk to keep it from lumping. Cook until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 15 minutes.
4. Season sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Turn off heat and let the sauce cool for 10 minutes.

5. In a bowl, beat eggs with remaining half and half. Gradually add about 2 cups of the warm cream sauce to this egg mixture, beating constantly to make sure the eggs don’t curdle. Then pour the egg mixture into the cream sauce, continue to stir until everything is well blended. Finally, beat in the ricotta.

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a LARGE baking dish—at least 15 x 9 x 4 inches.

7. Cook the ziti and put half in the dish. Sprinkle with half the Kefalotiri. Spoon in half the cream sauce, smoothing it with the back of the spoon. Spread on all the meat sauce. Now add remaining ziti, cream sauce and Kefalotiri. Sprinkle on Parmesan. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, covered, then 30 more uncovered. Let stand 30 minutes before cutting.
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefJune View Post

...

I Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, covered, then 30 more uncovered. Let stand 30 minutes before cutting.
I don't think that last 30 minutes would happen at my house.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:14 PM   #7
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I don't think that last 30 minutes would happen at my house.
If it doesn't your Pastitsio will be VERY soupy. It needs some time to "settle."
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:27 PM   #8
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I have made Pasticcio for years. It has become a favourite at our pot luck functions - people request it!

We had a Greek night for the staff (100) at camp and I made this, though I had to change the cheese to mozza because I couldn't find Greek cheese in our little island community and it was easier on the budget!

My recipe is very similar to Chef June's. And I agree, a salad is the perfect partner.
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:23 PM   #9
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recipe
That's pretty similar to the one I made, which was out of Vefa's Kitchen. It didn't have any cheese sauce inside, it was just on top & I thought it might be better if it were inside also. Instead, the recipe I used said mix up the pasta with grated cheese (not sauce) before putting it in the pan. Maybe I'll try making extra sauce & putting some inside next time instead.
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baking fool View Post
That's pretty similar to the one I made, which was out of Vefa's Kitchen. It didn't have any cheese sauce inside, it was just on top & I thought it might be better if it were inside also Instead, the recipe I used said mix up the pasta with grated cheese before putting it in the pan. Maybe I'll try making extra sauce & putting some inside next time instead.
Vefa is a friend of mind, but I have not seen her recipe. Mine is culled from several Greek-American friends who had theirs passed down from their Yaya's (Greek for Grandmother). All of them had the bechamel in the noodles, as do the recipes I've enjoyed at several of the famous Greek restaurants in Chicago.

(Trivia: Did you know there are more Greeks in Chicago (now environs and not city proper) than any city other than Athens?)
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