Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pastitsio

I'm a little behind on my blog posts. I really need to start writing down my thoughts on meals when I make/eat them if I'm going to take my time posting them. Like this meal we made 2 weekends ago: Pastitsio. I can't remember much other than it was really, really, really good. It's one of the recipes I bookmarked in Ina Garten's cookbook Make It Ahead. Basically, Greek lasagna, or Greek macaroni - it's a hearty, comforting, delicious cold weather meal.
It's also a bit time consuming to make. And uses a lot of pots and pans. The sauce is first: ground beef and ground lamb with tomatoes, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, cayenne, red wine, and onion. It simmers for about 45 minutes and the house smells wonderful. 
 While the sauce simmered, we cooked the pasta: mini shells.
Meat sauce and shells mixed together in a bowl and dumped into a 13 x 9 pan. Next we made the bechamel sauce which includes eggs and yogurt in addition to the whole milk, heavy cream, parmesan, butter, flour, and nutmeg. The bechamel is poured over the pasta mixture and then even more parmesan is sprinkled on top.
While the casserole baked for an hour, we cleaned up.
 Bubbly, cheesy goodness. Brown edges we fought over.
This dish is rich and delicious and definitely worth the time and effort. I enjoyed the mixture of beef and lamb since I find ground beef a little boring and ground lamb much more flavorful. We really liked the hint of cinnamon warmth and kick of cayenne. The bechamel sauce is absolutely delicious - - of course, because it's so darn unhealthy with all that cream and butter and cheese! The yogurt adds a nice tang to it.
I liked this better than regular lasagna even if it seemed much more time consuming and messy to make. But gosh this pastitsio is delicious and filling and comforting - perfect for this time of year.

Recipe here.

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