MY MUM’S PASTITSO
Pastitso is the Greek version of lasagne and this classic dish is full of richly flavoured meat, pasta and béchamel sauce. I’ve eaten a lot of Pastitso in my time- but I can confidently say my Mum’s has to be the best I’ve ever had.
Here is her delicious recipe- that has been in our family for generations- and we just can’t get enough of it.
The Meat Sauce
- 1/2 kilo of beef mince
- 1 large white onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- 5 fresh grated tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- salt and pepper to paste
- 6oo grams penne pasta
- 2 x eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
The Béchamel Sauce
-1.2 litres of full cream milk
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 x eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the diced onion over medium heat. Add the beef mince to pan and break it up thoroughly. Keep stirring constantly over a medium/high heat for 5 minutes or until meat is browned.
- Once the meat is ready, add the garlic, fresh tomato juice and tomato paste to the pan along with salt and pepper to taste, and mix well. Bring to a boil and make sure to immerse them in the sauce, then reduce the heat to medium/low. Simmer for about 30 minutes or so. Stir the sauce occasionally. When ready, the meat will have absorbed the liquid.
- Bring a large pot of water with a tablespoon of salt to a boil, add the pasta to water and boil until soft but not fully cooked (about 3/4 of the suggested cooking time on the package).
- While the pasta is cooking, make the béchamel sauce. Start by melting the butter in a deep saucepan filled with the milk over a medium heat, then, using a whisk slowly incorporate the dissolved flour (dissolve with a dash of milk) by adding it to the melted butter in stages while stirring continually to avoid the formation of lumps. Continue to constantly stir the butter and flour to ensure a smooth consistency. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the grated Parmesan cheese and eggs while continuing to rapidly stir the mixture. Set aside when smooth.
- Drain the water completely from the pasta pot and return pot with pasta to the heat, add olive oil to the pasta and mix well. Remove the pot from the heat, let stand for a few minutes to cool and then add the egg to the pasta, along with the ¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese and mix well, then set aside.
- Rub a little olive into the sides and bottom of your baking dish, and then add about two-thirds of the pasta to the dish to form a bottom layer. Make sure to spread the pasta evenly in order to completely cover the bottom of the dish, make sure not to leave any empty spaces.
- Spread the meat sauce over the pasta layer, ensuring to distribute it evenly and right to the edges of the dish.
- Add the remaining pasta overtop of the meat layer.
- Pour the béchamel sauce over final pasta layer, make sure to cover the entire surface area of the dish.
- Place the dish uncovered in an oven pre-heated (180°C) and bake for approximately 50 minutes, or until the béchamel sauce is golden brown.
- Allow it to cool before cutting and serving.