Friday, May 16, 2014

Greek Pastichio Recipe

Greek Pastichio

This is by far my favorite Greek dish, of course besides my beloved leg of lamb. I make this dish all the time and my family is in love with it :)

Ingredients:
• 1 box ziti or penne
• 2 lbs. ground beef (or ground lamb, or ground turkey if you are dieting like me)
• 1 chopped large yellow spanish onion
• 3 cloves garlic chopped
• 1 cup dry white wine (you can use good stuff or cheap stuff)
• 1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
• 3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
• 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3 tbsp. breadcrumbs
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 4 egg whites (reserve the yolks for bechamel sauce)
• 1 stick of butter or ½ cup margarine
• For the bechamel sauce:
• 2 sticks of butter or 1 cup of margarine
• 1 cup flour
• 4 cups warmed milk
• 8 beaten egg yolks
• a pinch of ground nutmeg

Preparation

Meat filling:

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add onions and garlic and cook about 5 minutes.
Add ground meat and cook until browned.
Add wine, tomato sauce, parsley, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and pepper and allow
sauce to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
While sauce is simmering put water on to boil for pasta. Cook pasta noodles according to package directions. Rinse noodles in colander under cold water to cool them.
Stir in 3 tbsp. breadcrumbs to meat sauce to absorb excess liquid and remove from heat.
Melt 1/2 cup butter in pasta pot and return cooked noodles to the pot. Stir in beaten egg whites and 1 cup of grated cheese and toss lightly, being careful not to break the noodles.
Brush the bottom and sides of the lasagna pan with olive oil. Layer the bottom with half the pasta noodles and press down so that they are somewhat flat.
Add the meat filling in an even layer to the pasta. Top with remaining pasta noodles and flatten top layer as best you can.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees while you prepare the bechamel sauce.
Bechamel Sauce:
Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Using a whisk, add flour to melted butter whisking continuously to make a smooth paste. Allow the flour/butter mixture to cook for a minute but do not allow it to brown.
Add warmed milk to mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Simmer over low heat until it thickens but does not boil.
Remove from heat and stir in beaten egg yolks. Add pinch of nutmeg. If sauce still needs to thicken, return to heat and cook over very low heat while continuing to stir.
Bechamel is thicker than gravy but not quite as thick as pudding. It should be somewhere in between. One way to tell if it is thick enough is to dip your wooden spoon in the sauce and draw your finger across the back of the spoon. If the sauce holds a visible line then it is thick enough.
Pour the bechamel over the pasta noodles making sure to pour sauce down in to the corners as well. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes or until the top is a nice golden color.

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