Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Greek Pastitsio

A Greek version of lasagne, the addition of cloves and cinnamon make a nice difference to the recipe.
Greek Pastitsio Recipe from Nomsies Kitchen

Last weekend my husband and I decided to make a Greek Pastitsio. The best way to describe it is that it is a Greek version of lasagne.

It is constituted of pasta, meat sauce and white béchamel sauce. The method for assembling the Pastitsio is exactly the same as assembling a lasagne. Layer the pasta first, followed by the meat sauce. Repeat. Make sure to finish with a final layer of pasta before spreading the béchamel sauce over. Sprinkle on some cheese and bake!

Greek Pastitsio Recipe from Nomsies Kitchen

Greek Pastitsio Recipe from Nomsies Kitchen

We got inspired to make this dish after watching Rick Stein cook it on his Mediterranean Escapes series. I have included a link to the video here so you can watch it as well.

Greek Pastitsio Recipe from Nomsies Kitchen

Personally I like the meat sauce in the Pastitsio because you add in cloves and a cinnamon stick. It really adds a nice, warming aniseed flavour and smell to the sauce.

Do note that the original recipe calls for Greek kefalotiri cheese but I just used Mozzarella to substitute.

Greek Pastitsio Recipe from Nomsies Kitchen

Greek Pastitsio Recipe from Nomsies Kitchen

I really am looking forward to making this again. I hope you give it a try too. Enjoy!

Recipe for Greek Pastitsio
Serves 4

Ingredients for the Meat Sauce
3 Tbsp Olive Oil 
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Celery sticks, finely chopped
2 Carrots, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped

500gm Lean Minced Beef
100ml Red Wine
400gm/1 can chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp Tomato Purée
10cm/4 inch piece Cinnamon Stick
4 whole Cloves
3/4 Tbsp dried Oregano
1 Tbsp Fresh Oregano, chopped (*optional)
100ml water
1½ tsp Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
For the Pasta
250gm tubular pasta, such as rigatoni. (*I just used Penne)
1 Egg, lightly beaten
25gm Mozzarella Cheese
For the White Béchamel Sauce 
50gm Butter
50gm Plain Flour
400ml Semi Skimmed Milk
¼ tsp ground Nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste 
120gm Mozzarella Cheese (to sprinkle over the top of the dish)


1. Put the 
onion, celery sticks, carrots and garlic into a food processor and blitz until fine. Remove and set aside. If you do not have a food processor then you will need to use your hands to chop it finely.

2. Now, start by cooking the meat sauce. Heat the olive oil in a deep pot. Add in the finely chopped onion, celery sticks, carrots and garlic and fry until fragrant and just beginning to brown.

3. Add the minced beef and fry over a high heat, breaking up any lumps as it browns. Once all the beef has browned – this should take about 4-5 minutes, add in the red wine, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, cinnamon stick, cloves, dried and fresh oregano. Stir through.

4. Simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes stirring every now and then. Add in the water and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for another 10 minutes. The sauce should be thick but not dry. Remove from heat and discard the cinnamon stick.

5. While the meat sauce is cooking, you can prepare the pasta and béchamel sauce. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain well, transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool slightly. 

6. For the white béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a medium-sized non-stick saucepan, add the flour and cook. Stir continuously over a medium heat until the flour has cooked and thickened. Gradually pour in the milk in 3 additions. Stir continuously until you get a smooth sauce. Season with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper to taste. 

7. Preheat the oven to 180C. Pour in a quarter of the white sauce into the warm pasta. Add the beaten egg and some cheese.  

8. In a deep oven proof casserole dish, start to assemble the Pastitsio. Spread one-third of the pasta over the base of the dish and cover with half the meat sauce. Add another third of the pasta and then the rest of the meat sauce. Finish with a final layer of pasta and spoon over the remaining white béchamel sauce, spreading it out evenly. Sprinkle over the cheese and bake for 40 minutes until bubbling hot and golden brown.

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