Pastitsio (Greek lasagna)
Pastitsio - A rich, homely pasta dish reminiscent of Italian lasagna. This Greek dish is a symphony of layers and flavours and is exactly what the world needs right now.
400 g rigatoni pasta
400 g MISKO Macaroni Pastitsio No2 pasta
250 g Kefalotyri cheese, finely grated
800 g mince beef
1 red onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 can peeled tomatoes
100 ml red wine
Thyme, freshly cut
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
120 g butter
120 g plain flour
4 cups full cream milk
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
100 g Kefalotyri cheese
2 egg yolks
In a cast iron pot on medium heat, sauté the diced onion. After a few minutes add in the thyme leaves, the garlic and tomato paste. Cook for a further minute before adding the beef. You can use a potato masher to help you break up the beef. Once beef is browned add the wine, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, tomatoes, fill the empty tomato can with warm water and add that in with salt and pepper. Allow to cook uncovered until a rich bolognaise sauce (about 25 minutes) adjusting the heat as required. Remove from heat and set aside.
In two separate pots of boiling salted water add each of the pasta types and cook to 75% of the cooking time on the packet.
Meanwhile make the Béchamel. Melt the butter in a stainless pan or pot on low/medium. Once melted add the flour and completely incorporate the butter and flour with a whisk. Slowly add the milk in batches incorporating fully before adding more in. Reduce heat and add in 100g of the Kefalotyri cheese, the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Adjusting the salt to taste. Remove completely from the heat and stir through the 2 egg yolks. Save the egg whites for later. Set aside whisking every so often to ensure mixture doesn’t set.
Drain the pasta into two separate bowls and fill with a little water to ensure they don’t dry out. Working quickly in a baking tray fill the bottom with the rigatoni pasta. I used a cake tin which enables you to get lots of height to the pastitsio. Optionally you can arrange them length ways so that when you cut slices you are left with these great holes. Almost like honey comb. Top the rigatoni with the egg whites, feta cheese and 50 g of the Kefalotyri.
Next layer is the bolognaise. Without pressing down too hard ensure the bolognaise is spread evenly across the pasta before adding more kefalotyri cheese on top before adding the MISKO pasta. Take time to arrange these all in the same direction as the bottom layer of pasta.
Finally, cover with a thick layer of the béchamel and the remaining kefalotyri cheese.
Cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. Allow the pastitsio to cool on a benchtop for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
I used a tall sided bread tin to get all that extra height, but a normal oven pan will be just as tasty.