Pastitsio

PASTITSIO

Before, when I just arrived in Greece, the word «pastitsio» fills me with horror. I wasn’t a good cooker at that time and pastitsio, as I thought, it was a very complex dish — there were meat sauce and Bechamel sauce — it seemed to me like a nightmare!

But the moment came, and I had to cook this dish. It was incredible, but my pastitsio came out very tasty. I did not cook it according to the classic recipe, but according to the recipe of my Greek friend Magda.

Ingredients:

750gr. of minced meat

300gr. grated semi — hard cheese

4 grated tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Soft margarine

1 grated large onion

1/4 of red wine

Water

Nutmeg, salt, pepper

For Bechamel sauce:

50 gr. butter

50 gr. wheat flour

500 ml. milk

Nutmeg, salt, pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Cook the tubular pasta in plenty of salted water until tender yet firm to the bite.

Strain the pasta with a colander. Add about 2 tablespoons of  margarine, toss well; set aside.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons margarine in a medium sized pot on medium heat.

Add the onion.

Fry the onion slowly and when it is soft add minced meat. Fry slowly for 5 minutes stirring constantly.

Pour in the red wine and allow it to evaporate.

Add  grated tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, nutmeg and simmer for about 20 min.

3. Melt butter in a stewpan, stir in flour and cook gently for 2 — 3 minutes.

Pour in all milk at once and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens like sour cream.

Add salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Cool slightly before stirring in 1/2 — 1 cup of grated cheese.

4. Preheat oven to 180°C.

5. Grease a baking tray with margarine.

6. Spoon half of the prepared tubular pasta evenly in the bottom, sprinkle a handful of cheese on top and top with meat sauce.

Top with remaining tubular pasta, sprinkle a handful of cheese on top.

 Pour  on Bechamel sauce and spread to completely cover pasta.

Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

7. Bake in a preheated oven for  45 minutes or until  golden brown.

8. Cool slightly before cutting.

Bon Appetit!

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