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    Monday, August 30, 2010

    Pasticcio - Greek Lasagne

    Pastitsio A Greek Lasagne

    I am really enjoying the Rerun of Rick Steins Mediterranean Escapes on Food TV and I have already blogged a delicious pasta, a couple of weeks ago
    Now it is The Turn of the Greek. This pasta dish is so reminiscent of Lasagne, but the difference is the spices used in the meat sauce.
    It’s lovely, bubbly, cheesy comfort food. Perfect for a cold winters day.
    What I like about this meat sauce is the addition of the spices

    I made it for ‘Thursday at Grandmas’ and all of the kids including the Grandfather loved it.
    Rick used a Greek Cheese called Kefalotyri which is a hard sheep or goats cheese
    I haven’t seen it here so I used a mixture of Feta and Parmesan, I guess you could use Percorino
    This will feed 4 people

    There are 3 stages
    Meat sauce
    Béchamel sauce and
    The Pasta

    In fact if you can make double the recipe of the Meat Sauce and stick it in the freezer for future use.

    500 gms minced beef
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    Sea salt and pepper
    1 onion finely chopped
    2 clove garlic peeled and minced
    1 stick celery finely sliced

    Glass red wine
    1 can tomatoes
    2 tablespoon tomato puree

    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    _ tsp ground Cloves
    1 tablespoon dried Oregano

    Heat the olive oil in a pan and brown the meat
    Season with S & P
    When brown remove from pan and
    Add onions and garlic sauté till soft
    Add celery sauté another minute or two
    Add meat back into pan
    Deglaze with wine
    Reduce a little
    Add tomatoes, Tomato puree, cinnamon, cloves and oregano
    Rinse the tomato tin half full and add the water to the mix
    Simmer for about 30 minutes and set aside.

    Béchamel Sauce
    3 tablespoon butter
    3 tablespoon plain flour
    3 cups milk
    1 small onion peeled and studded with whole cloves
    1 bay leaf
    Few peppercorns
    Freshly grated nutmeg

    The Pasta
    300 gms Penne (or similar)
    1 cup grated Cheese
    2 eggs beaten

    To make the Béchamel
    Infuse the milk with onion studded with cloves, peppercorns and bay leaf
    You need to make a roux
    Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pan
    Add flour mix well and cook for a few minutes to get rid of any raw flour taste.
    Strain the milk
    Add to roux and with a whisk beat well
    Heat stirring all the time till it comes to the boil
    Simmer for about 4-5 minutes

    Season to taste with Sea salt, Freshly ground black pepper and a good grate of nutmeg

    Meanwhile cook pasta to manufacturers instructions
    Mix in 1/2 cup cheese and 1/3 of the béchamel
    Mix well then add the 2 beaten egg mix.

    Now time to assemble
    Grease your gratin dish with olive oil
    Layer half of the pasta mix, covering the bottom well
    Then the meat sauce
    Top with remainder of Pasta
    Press down till flat

    Cover with reserved Béchamel
    Grated cheese on top

    Bake 180C for about 30 minutes till t is golden and bubbly

    Leave for at least 10 minutes before serving
    This makes it easier to serve.

    Lidia Basianich says she likes to leave baked Pasta dishes for at least an hour.
    But who can wait that long.
    This is a winner.


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