By: Dino Rovolis
There are many delicious foods in my Greek culture, but the one that I consider my favorite is the well known “pastitsio” (Greek: παστίτσιο), especially the way my mom makes it…it’s so good that she has to make it in a big casserole dish so we can all be satisfied. Food is a very big part of our culture, if ever you have the chance to go to a Greek family’s house for dinner or so, even if you’d get stuffed, make sure to have some more space left for another dish because we all know that Greek mothers don’t take no for an answer, and when you ask for a small piece, it’s always a big one! My favorite thing about Greek food is the huge variety and creativity of it. When I eat delicious Greek food, it always reminds me of being in Greece, like in a beautiful island or even at a Greek party, with lots of dancing and music!
Now for pastitsio, throughout Greece or many Greek restaurants you’ll find this delight, but personalized in ingredients. Basically, it’s a dish made of pasta, meat sauce, and a custard or béchamel sauce. As seen in the picture above, there are three layers meaning three steps in order to make the pastitsio just right:
- 6 ounces or ½ cup bucatini pasta noodles
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup milk
- 1lb ground beef
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups milk
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Pasta noodles and ground beef
1. Cook the bucatini pasta noodles until done and drain them. Add the egg, the Parmesan cheese, and the milk. Mix all ingredients together and set it aside for now.
2. Cook the ground beef and the chopped onion in skillet until brown and drain the fat. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, as well as the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Then set all that aside.
1. Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan.
2. Add the flour and salt.
3. Add the milk slowly, cook and stir until it thickens.
4. Remove it from heat and stir in a small amount of the hot mixture into one beaten egg, then return that mixture to the rest of the sauce in the pan.
5. Add the Parmesan cheese.
Making the lasagna
To assemble it, put half the macaroni mixture into an 8X8 inch square casserole dish, layer the meat onto it, then add the remaining macaroni mixture. Finally, add the sauce on top and you can also cover it with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 min and let it stand 10 min before serving.