Pastitsio (Greek Macaroni Casserole)

Pastitsio (Greek Macaroni Casserole)

Tender pasta layered with a meaty tomato sauce and topped off with a Parmesan flavored egg custard. Similar to Moussaka, this classic Greek dish is famous throughout the world, and a favorite at Greek restaurants and festivals.

This casserole is tasty and looks impressive. It’s a perfect dish for company because it can be cut neatly into servings to suit individual appetites.

Susan Tweeton

Ingredients

Meat Sauce:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or lamb 
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2–4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 6-ounce can.tomato paste
  • 1 cup water (or ½ cup water and ½ cup red wine)
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Greek oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Macaroni:

  • 1-pound small elbow macaroni
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 

Cream Sauce:

  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups warmed milk
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • Dash nutmeg
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

Meat Sauce Preparation:

  1. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil; do not brown.
  2. Brown ground beef or lamb; drain well.
  3. Add browned ground meat, tomato paste, water (or water and wine), nutmeg, allspice cinnamon, and oregano to onion mixture. 
  4. Simmer about 20 minutes over medium heat; sauce will not be juicy.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper (do not over salt).

Macaroni Preparation:

  1. Cook macaroni until al dente in boiling salted water.
  2. Rinse in cool water and drain.
  3. Combine 1-cup meat sauce and ½ cup Parmesan cheese with macaroni; blend well.

Cream Sauce Preparation:

  1. Melt butter and stir in flour.
  2. Cook over medium/low heat, stirring until mixture is well blended and bubbling.
  3. Add warmed milk and stir continuously until sauce is well blended and begins to thicken.
  4. Take sauce off heat.
  5. Season to taste with salt.
  6. Allow sauce to cool.
  7. Add beaten eggs to sauce.
  8. Stir until all sauce is blended with eggs.
  9. Stir in ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and dash nutmeg.

Pastitsio Assembly:

  1. Brush bottom of 13” x 9” baking dish with olive oil.
  2. Spread ½ of macaroni mixture into bottom of pan.
  3. Spoon remaining meat mixture over macaroni.
  4. Top with remaining macaroni mixture.
  5. Pour cream sauce over all.
  6. Bake at 350° for 45 – 60 minutes (the top should be set, slightly puffy, and nicely browned).
  7. Let rest for 15 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

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