Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What's for Dinner [Pastitso]

Last week I shared the religious traditions of Orthodox Easter (here, here, and here) but I didn't mention the food....and let me tell you....the food is incredible!  After fasting for 40 days, we go all out: roasted lamb (usually a whole one on a spit), spanakopita, Greek potatoes, green beans with lamb shanks, tsoureki (Easter bread), magiritsa (soup), and pastitso.  (Not to mention the sweets.)

Today, I'm sharing my pastitso recipe.  For lack of a better explanation pastitso is Greek lasagna.  It is made with long, tubular pastitso noodles (which I find at the European market), a ground beef mixture, cheese, and is topped with a cream sauce.  Heaven on a plate.  Unfortunately, I don't do much measuring, but tried to pay attention when I made it on Sunday.  When I worked at the Greek restaurant here in Indy, this was the dish I usually recommended to first time Greek food eaters....and usually they loved it! 

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 T fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t and a smidge cinnamon
  • 1/4 t (shy) nutmeg
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • a couple glugs white wine (See, so not scientific...Daddy's always reminding me cooking is an art....)
  • dried oregano (This one I forgot to pay attention -- a few generous shakes)
  • 1 pound pastitso noodles (Can sub tubular noodles if you really can't find them.  I will warn you though, it's just not quite the same.)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • grated kefalotyri cheese (This can be tricky to find!!  sub Kasseri or pecorino Romano)
  • béchamel sauce (see recipe below)
  • In a little butter, saute onions, garlic, and parsley, until onions just soft.
  • Add beef and brown.  (I drain here)
  • Add spices, wine, and tomato sauce.  Simmer for 30 min. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Meanwhile, boil macaroni according to directions.
  • When cooked drain, and add to bowl with some melted butter, beaten eggs, and a generous sprinkling of grated cheese.  Mix well.
  • Spread half noodle mixture into a greased 9x13 (deep) pan.
  • Cover evenly with meat mixture and top with a sprinkle of grated cheese.
  • Spread remaining noodle mixture over meat.  Top with béchamel sauce and sprinkle generously with grated cheese.
  • Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Cool slightly and cut into squares.
Béchamel Sauce:
  • 4 cups hot milk (my advice -- don't skimp on calories here and go for whole)
  • 6 T flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, melt butter.
  • Add flour and mix well.
  • Slowly add in hot milk, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.  (Be patient - it might take a while, but it's totally worth the wait.)
  • Season with salt and white pepper as desired.

Today I'm linking up with Share Your Style.  I've so enjoyed seeing the other style posts.  I'm anxious to see this week's edition.  Hop on over and check them out yourselves!

Uptown Acorn

Happy China Love!

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