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Pastitsio Recipe

Photo source: Grandmother's Kitchen

A Traditonal recipe for Pastitsio or Greek Lasagna. A hearty traditional Greek dish.

Ingredients

2 lbs. lean ground beef
3 medium white onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. Greek oregano
salt and pepper
1 T. tomato paste
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup dry white wine
1-2 all spice berry
1/2 -1 tsp. cinnamon
1 package noodles
3/4 cup Ramano or another hard cheese

Béchamel Sauce
1 stick butter
1 cup flour
10 cups warm whole milk
8 eggs, room temperature
1 cup grated hard cheese (romano, parmesan)
salt and pepper
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
More hard cheese to grate on top

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Saute onions in oil on medium heat for about 10 minutes, add the garlic and bay leaves and cook another 5 minutes. Add the beef and clove and raise the heat to high, continuing to cook until the meat is cooked, about 15-20 minutes.

Drain the excess fat and remove the berry and bay leafs. Add the wine and tomato paste, turning down the heat back to medium – medium high. Cook until almost all the wine has cooked off, then add the can of tomatoes, salt and pepper, cinnamon, and oregano. Turn off heat and let rest.

Cook your noodles in a large pot of salted water until al dente, about 10-12 minutes.

Béchamel Sauce: Add butter to a medium large saucepan and melt on medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly until turns a golden brown, about 5-7 minutes depending on your heat. Continue whisking briskly while you steadily stream in your warm milk making a nice roux. Make sure you do not have any lumps, if you start to see them form simply whisk faster, bring to a slight boil while stirring with a wooden spoon. You want your roux to thicken but not turn into a batter. Remove from heat and cool slightly for 5 minutes. Whisk all of your eggs together and slowly stream them into your roux, mixing quickly to avoid scrambling. Now, add your cheese and seasonings.

Once everything is ready, you can assemble your dish. Lightly oil your large baking dish and mix 1 ladle of your béchamel sauce into your meat mix and 3 ladles into your drained pasta. Add enough sauce to coat the bottom of your dish then add 1/2 of your noodles. Follow with your meat and then repeat with remaining noodles. Top with the remaining béchamel sauce and grated cheese.

Bake for 45-60 minutes. You want your edges to be bubbly and the cheese to be golden brown. Rest 30 minutes before serving to let set.

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