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Greek Pastitsio, by Beverly Hicks Burch

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Greek Pastitsio

By Beverly Hicks Burch

I mentioned the other day that Tall & Handsome and I are on a quest for a great Greek cookbook (recommendations welcomed!). We are, if nothing else, adventurous when it comes to our culinary experiences. Variety is, after all, the spice of life.

The other day I was thumbing through one of my older cookbooks (a 1982 edition of BHG The Dieter’s Cookbook). I happened to notice a “Greek” section and was drawn to browse that section to see if there was anything there that might interest me enough to give it a try.

The one that caught my eye was for a dish called Pastitsio (pa-STEET-see-oh), which is a classic Greek baked pasta dish with a Bechamel sauce. Keep in mind this recipe came out of a “diet” cookbook and I did make a couple changes. The main change I made was to use a lean ground beef instead of ground lamb…not much on lamb…

T & H found it “tasty” as he says…really good was another comment. I served it with Minted Baby English Peas. Yum!

© 2010 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

Pastitsio

1 cup elbow macaroni, cooked

¾ – 1 lb. ground round or ground sirloin

½ cup chopped onion

1 8 0z. can tomato sauce

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 ½ cups low fat milk

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 beaten eggs

Ground cinnamon for the top

1. Cook the macaroni until done. Leave it slightly al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Brown meat and onions in a deep skillet until meat is no longer pink. Drain any excess liquid off the meat. Return to the skillet.

3. Next add the macaroni, tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon salt, thyme and cinnamon to the meat and onion mixture. Mix well.

4. If your skillet is oven proof, distribute the meat mixture evenly throughout the pan. If not, pour the meat mixture into an oven proof baking dish that is 10 x 6 x 2.

5. Make the “Bechamel” sauce. First combine ½ cup milk, 3 tablespoons all purpose flour and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk well until combined and there are no lumps.

6. In a medium saucepan combine the remaining 1 cup milk with the milk-flour mixture. Cook and whisk until thickened and bubbly. Then cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.

7. Next temper the eggs by slowly beating ½ cup of the white milk sauce into the beaten eggs. Then pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the white sauce. Stir to combine well.

8. Stir in 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.

9. Pour the Bechamel sauce over the meat and pasta mixture.

10. Sprinkle the top with extra ground cinnamon.

11. Bake at 375° for 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!!!

Pastitsio

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