Classic Pastitsio


Nothing says Greek cooking more than a bubbling, comforting tray of hot pastitsio, the ultimate comfort food. To buy the extra virgin Greek olive oil and Greek tomato products for this dish, click here.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin Greek olive oil
  • 3 onions finely chopped
  • 675 gr. / 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large garlic clove minced
  • 3 cups plum tomato concasse
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 scant tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 10-15 black peppercorns crushed
  • Salt
  • 675 gr. / 1 ½ pounds thick tube spaghetti
  • 120 gr. / 4 ounces Kefalotyri cheese grated
  • 4 cups Béchamel
  • 2 egg yolks beaten
  • 1 cup Greek fresh anthotyro ricotta, or myzithra, drained

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin Greek olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent, 5 – 7 minutes. Add meat and continue stirring until meat begins to brown. Add garlic, tomatoes, spices, peppercorns, and salt. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 35 – 40 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed and meat is cooked (add water if necessary). Remove pan from heat, let meat cool slightly. Remove whole spices.
  2. While meat is simmering, boil the pasta to al dente. Remove, drain and shock in cold water. Drain. Toss with a little extra-virgin Greek olive oil and half the grated cheese.
  3. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Lightly oil a large baking pan.
  4. Make béchamel. When done, whisk in the egg yolks, Greek anthotyro cheese and half the remaining grated cheese. Toss the pasta with a little of the béchamel. Spread half of it on the bottom of a large baking pan. Pour in meat sauce, spreading evenly over pasta. Sprinkle with 1 – 2 tablespoons grated cheese. Make a second layer of the pasta. Pour béchamel over pasta, making sure it’s evenly spread over top of pan. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes, until béchamel thickens and swells and a golden brown crust forms on top.

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