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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Greek King of Pasta

What are your go-to dishes for company?  Do you find yourself always making the same few things?  Read on...

This is by far one of my favorite dishes.  If the first course for Sunday dinner isn't lasagna or macaroni with meat sauce, it's this.  And it's GOOD.  

The creaminess of the bechamel along with the tanginess of the tomatoes is just an amazing combination.  Add to that your typical Greek flavors and you have a wonderful baked pasta dish, perfect for a dinner party or for an intimate dinner for two.

You can make this more of a casserole by using long pasta, or as seen here with a shorter shape.  Either way it's great - just a matter of personal preference.

I've been eating this for as long as I can remember...it brings back lots of memories for me.  It's true comfort on a plate.  Please try this soon - you'll be crowned a Greek goddess by anyone you serve it to :)

from Mom

1 1/2 pounds macaroni (pastitsio #2 or bucatini...penne can also be used)
1 cup butter
2 eggs, separated
1 3/4 pounds ground lamb (can substitute beef)
1/2 pound kefalotiri or parmesan cheese, grated
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled and stewed OR 1 tablespoon tomato paste, diluted with 1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 piece of cinnamon stick
1 cup bread crumbs
1 recipe Bechamel sauce (see below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Parboil macaroni in salted water for 6 minutes, drain.  Brown half the butter and pour over macaroni.  Beat egg whites (reserve yolks) and add to macaroni.  Sprinkle with half the cheese.  Brown remaining butter (but keep 2 T. aside to use later) with the chipped meat and onion. 
Add the wine, tomatoes, salt, pepper and cinnamon, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat, remove the cinnamon, and add half of the remaining cheese and half the bread crumbs.  Mix well.
Prepare the bechamel.  Butter a pan and sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Spread half the macaroni evenly, cover with chopped meat.  Add remaining macaroni.  Pour bechamel over the top.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese, then with the rest of the bread crumbs.  Drizzle remaining butter over the top. 
Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.  

Serves 6-8.

Bechamel sauce:
6 tablespoons butter
7-8 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk, scalded
1-2 egg yolks
salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter but do not brown.  Add flour slowly, mixing constantly.  Remove from heat.  Slowly mix in scalded milk.  Return to heat and stir until sauce thickens.  Beat egg yolks well, and add them with salt and pepper to the mixture, stirring constantly until blended.  If you don't serve this immediately, stir it occasionally to prevent a crust from forming.

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At May 17, 2011 at 9:19 AM , Blogger Dawn said...

Thanks for sharing! I think I'm going to make this for my Sunday night dinner this week :-)

At May 17, 2011 at 10:31 AM , Blogger Nicole said...

Thank you for sharing this! I can see why it's a favorite in your house. It looks like it would be a hit in ours, too.

At May 17, 2011 at 11:09 AM , Blogger Krystal R said...

Ah, this is a dish that I have been wanting to make for awhile. I'll make sure to thank the Greek goddess when she visits! too funny Melissa!

At May 17, 2011 at 1:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hands down my favorite Greek dish.... a staple in my house!

At May 17, 2011 at 8:51 PM , Blogger Reeni said...

My Mom was just urging me to make this again! It is such a delicious comfort meal - I love it!

At May 18, 2011 at 8:22 AM , Blogger Joanne said...

Lasagna used to be my go-to...but I think that after seeing this that definitely needs to change! Looks amazing!

At December 19, 2011 at 4:23 PM , Blogger Allison said...

I love pastitsio but I've never made it - so glad you posted this!!!


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