Recipe for Pastitsio - Greek Casserole Recipe
By Sabina Novak
Pastitsio is one of the most popular greek casserole recipe. Although most versions of this Greek classic are made to cut into neat squares, our version has a creamy pasta layer on top of a traditional ground lamb concoction. Here are step by step directions:
Pastitsio - Greek Casserole Recipe
- Canola oil for greasing the pan
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives, preferably Greek olives
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 2 medium shallots, halved
- 2 garlic cloves, quartered
- 1/4 cup chopped dill fronds
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 ripe Italian plum tomatoes, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 21/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 6 ounces Asiago, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 8 ounces dried penne, ziti, or rigatoni, cooked and drained
- Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease the inside of a 2-quart, high-sided, round casserole dish or a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with some canola oil dabbed on a paper towel; set aside.
- Place the olives, anchovy fi llets, shallots, garlic, dill, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest, and pepper in a food processor fi tted with the chopping blade. Pulse until finely chopped, not quite a paste. Alternatively, grind these ingredients in a mortar with a pestle. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, then crumble in the ground lamb. Cook, stirring often, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the olive mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, about 3 more minutes.
- Pour in the wine and scrape up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. When the wine comes to a simmer, add the tomatoes. Reduce the heat somewhat and simmer until thickened and ragu like, stirring often, perhaps about 10 minutes. Pour the contents of the pan into the prepared casserole and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. As soon as it's melted, sprinkle the flour over it, wait for 5 seconds, then whisk and cook just until the flour is fully combined in the butter and bubbling a bit, about 15 seconds. Do not brown.
- Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream until smooth; whisk in the cream. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheese and cinnamon just until the cheese melts. Do not return to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Whisk the eggs and egg yolk in a large bowl. Very slowly whisk the hot cream sauce into the beaten eggs. Stir in the cooked pasta and pour this mixture over the meat mixture in the casserole.
- Bake, uncovered, until the top is lightly browned and the custard is set and bubbling lightly, about 40 minutes for the round casserole and 30 minutes for the 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving.
- To serve, make sure you scoop up both layers or scoop out servings of the cheese layer and top them with some of the meat layer below.
Enjoy this Greek casserole recipe and Bon Apetit, Emely
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