When i met my husband, i was sure that i was the best cook he knew.... Until i met his dad. He literally took me on a food journey through Greece, and to mention but a few, Avgolemono, Souvlaki, Maghiritsa, Galaktoboureko and Pastitsio. I gained so much weight but most importantly, i realised how close our cultures were. Also i was learning. Learning about my husbands favourite dishes.
So Pastitsio is what i made. I have to say, it was not like my father in laws, as i could not find the correct greek pasta that he used, but used rigatoni instead. Similar but NOT the same.
This dish is homey, cosy, comforting, tasty, moorish and last but not least easy.
I told my husband i was making it for dinner and he began by telling me that it was going to take hours, and hours, but i proved him wrong. It took from start to finish 45 minutes. And it was so worth it.
Basically it is similar to a lasagna, but its made with tubular pasta instead and it gathers the meat in the little rings you get, so it make it all that more delicious.
1k of tubular pasta, or Rigatoni
3 fresh tomatoes
1 k of fresh beef/lamb mince
Fresh Thyme leaves
1/2 cup of red wine
- Make the mince by first adding the leeks to brown and soften a little.
- Then add the mince and season well. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and brown the meat.
- When the meat has cooked through, add the wine, tomato puree and thyme leaves.
- Chop the tomatoes and add them. They will soften and mix into the mixture. Let this simmer.
- Boil the pasta and set aside.
- Make the bechamel sauce.
- Do this by melting butter in a pan and adding the same amount of flour. Only add the flour once the butter has melted. This will create a thick paste. Cook the flour throug and start adding the milk slowly. The paste will thicken slightly and then loosen up. This method allows you to have a smooth, limp free sauce. When the mix is ready, add some seasoning to it. Salt, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add some grated parmesan in to the bechamel mixture but only once you have taken it off the heat otherwise you will get stringy melted cheese in the sauce.
- Place the pasta in a pyrex dish, layering it equally, then add the meat mixutre, then pasta again, meat and then top it off with the bechamel. Add grated parmesan to it and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes to get brown and crispy.
- And then you are ready to serve.
This dish was consumed by four of us. We each got two servings, and let just say we were stuffed like Dolmadis by the time we finished!!!!