Friday, May 20, 2011

Pastitsio Love

I cooked an old favourite last night, that I'm so glad I remembered after a year or so of absence. I have no idea why it fell out of use, but it's back now. It tasted so good that I just had to share the recipe and share the love. No photo unfortunately, it was eaten before I thought of that. I'll put one up next time I make it. 

Pastitsio is a bit like a greek version of lasagna. I have no idea how authentic our recipe is, but it's all we know. It originally came from a book called 'Cooking with Herbs and Spices', whose author I didn't record. And it really is the herbs and spices that make the dish - if you don't have cinnamon, cumin & mint, buy them! Do not substitute or it just won't be the same :(

2 cups macaroni (I used pasta spirals because that's what we had)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
450g mince (I used a bit less mince and some beans, because I often do)
300mL beef stock (or water if you're out of stock powder, as we were yesterday)
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp mint
50g butter
1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
1 1/2 cups grated cheese

- Cook pasta & drain
- In frying pan, heat oil & cook onion & garlic for 8-10 mins until soft
- Add mince, stir until browned
- Stir in stock, tomato paste, cinnamon, cumin & mint
- Cook gently for 10-15 mins until sauce is thick and flavoursome.
- Melt butter in saucepan
- Stir in flour, cook 1 min
- Remove from heat, gradually stir in milk & yoghurt
- Cook gently 5 minutes
- Stir in half the cheese & all the pasta
- To Assemble: Spread half the pasta mixture in the base of your dish. Cover with meat sauce and top with remaining pasta. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. 
- Bake 45 mins or until golden brown. 


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