With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart: Pastitsio Greek Casserole

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Pastitsio Greek Casserole

I love to make new dishes and because there are so many recipes available on the internet, I can literally spend hours collecting more delicious looking recipes than I could ever possibly make in my lifetime. I often forget all about the cookbooks I have on my bookshelves. I opened the pages of an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and came upon an Americanized version of a Greek classic. Pastitsio Greek Casserole is a pasta dish that contains ground beef and béchamel sauce.

Pastitsio is similar to Italian Lasagna. The typical Greek version has a bottom layer of tubular pasta, with cheese and egg as a binder, a middle layer of ground beef, veal or lamb with tomato and cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice, then another layer of pasta. These layers are then topped with a Béchamel.

Pastitsio is a popular dish, and is often served as a main course, with a salad. This version is a simplified one in that the meat and sauce layer is combined. It is not as attractive as the defined layers but it sure is tasty!

Two of my kids do not like Ricotta cheese that is used in lasagna (imagine that!). The creamy  Béchamel is a perfect alternative.

With a nice big salad and maybe some crusty bread, this large casserole will serve 12

Pastitsio Greek Casserole
source: Better Homes and Gardens Heritage Cook Book

Serves 12

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 16-oz can tomatoes, cut up
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/4 tsp dried thyme, crushed
2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 cups elbow macaroni, dry
4 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 cup feta cheese OR American Cheese
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
dash nutmeg
4 cups milk
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten

In a skillet, cook ground beef and onion until meat is browned; drain off excess fat. Add un-drained tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme and 1 tsp salt. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes, stirring often.

Meanwhile, cook macaroni according to package directions; drain well. Stir egg whites and cheese into macaroni; stir in meat mixture. Turn into a 13x9x2-inch baking dish or pan.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Blend in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1 tsp salt. Add milk all at once. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Gradually stir some hot sauce into egg yolks; blend well. Return yolk mixture to remaining sauce, stirring rapidly. Pour atop meat mixture. Sprinkle lightly with additional cinnamon, if desired.

Bake at 375F degrees  for 35 to 40 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


podso said...

One of my favorite meals for a crowd. I should make it for the two of us and freeze some. You always make your recipes look beautiful too, with your photos!

Susan said...

Oh Lorraine. I would love some of that casserole right NOW! Looks fabulous. Susan

Mildred said...

We both will love this recipe but especially John. It has all his favorites! We miss hearing from you. Hope you and the family are well.

corners of my life said...

Who doesn't love béchamel sauce? Thanks for the recipe Lorraine.


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