This post is for my sister not because I had enough of Christmas goodie or baking.  But she requested the recipe and when you have a thousand miles between you it’s not like you can run over and show her how to make it.  This dish is one our Aunt Carol she made pastitsio when we visited as kids. When another five kid family shows up and and you have five in yours pasta was always a good choice. It was also a crowd pleaser and I have loved it ever since the first time I tried it.  My sister has never made it and remembered it the other day.  Her being the youngest,  she didn’t even remember the name but was able to described it to me and I knew what she was talking about right away.  So here it is Rita hope you enjoy it and the flood of memories that it will bring back.

Greek Lasagna (Pastitsio)

This creamy casserole of pasta and meat is enjoyed throughout Greece.

FOR THE MEAT SAUCE:
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, minced
1 lb. ground beef, veal, or pork
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1⁄3 cup red wine (optional)
1⁄4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

FOR THE BÉCHAMEL AND PASTA:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup A-P flour
2 cans milk evaporated milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, separated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
1 lb. No. 2 Greek macaroni (bucatini) or elbow macaroni
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1. Make the meat sauce: Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft, 8–10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer onion mixture to a plate and set aside. Add ground meat cook, breaking meat up into tiny pieces, until browned, 6–8 minutes. Add reserved onion mixture, along with tomatoes, wine, chile flakes, bay leaves, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove sauce from heat, discard bay leaves and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg; let cool.

2. Make the béchamel: Heat butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until smooth and slightly toasted, 1–2 minutes. Add milk; cook, whisking often, until sauce coats the back of a spoon, 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat, add 1/4 cup cheese and egg yolks; season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until smooth; set aside.

3. Heat oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add pasta and cook halfway through, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Stir in remaining cheese; drain pasta in a colander and then toss with egg white–cheese mixture to coat evenly. Set aside.

4. Grease a deep 9″ x 13″ or round baking dish with olive oil. Place the pasta mixture on bottom of dish and cover evenly with meat sauce. Make a well in the center then pour béchamel cream sauce over pasta, Smooth the top evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 1 hour. Transfer to wire rack; cool 20 minutes before serving.

SERVES 10 – 12

 

Rita,

This is for you and don’t worry calling the cream sauce béchamel is just  a fancy way to say cream sauce (béchamel).  I promise I made only a few changes to the original recipe from Aunt Carols and I think she would approve.

Love you little sis

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