Greek Pastitsio or Pastichio is Greek comfort food at its best! This Greek layered casserole dish is compromised of luscious layers- pasta layers, an aromatic meat sauce layer, and a lusciously creamy and thick bechamel sauce.
3/4packageGreek bucatini pasta(375g), (I use Misko No. 2)
1cupgrated mitzithraor Parmesan cheese
3egg whites(reserve yolks for the bechamel)
2tablespoonsgrated mitzithraor Parmesan cheese
2tablespoonsgrated mitzithra or Parmesan cheese
Lightly grease a deep 9x13 or similar sized pan with olive oil or butter and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet pan over medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften.
Add the ground beef and brown it, breaking up any large chunks as you stir and cook it.
Once the beef is browned, add the tomato paste, cinnamon stick, parsley, salt and pepper to the meat. Add the water and bring the meat sauce to a boil, stirring frequently until the water evaporates and the meat is cooked. Remove the cinnamon stick, set aside and let cool.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to package directions and then drain.
Place the drained pasta back in the pot and add the mitzithra (or parmesan) and egg whites, tossing to coat the pasta.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour, stirring until it makes a thick paste or roux. Add the milk slowly, whisking continuously as you do so. Whisk until the béchamel sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, then remove it from the heat. Whisk in the egg yolks, mizithra, salt and nutmeg.
Let the mixture cool for a few minutes while you begin to assemble the pastitsio.
Assemble the pastitsio and bake:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Place half of the pasta into the greased baking pan and arrange them so that they are evenly spread.
Spread the meat sauce layer on top of the pasta, spreading it to make an even layer.
Add the remaining pasta on top of the meat sauce layer.
Spread the béchamel on top of the pasta layer, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle bread crumbs and mitzithra over top of the béchamel.
Bake the pastitsio in the oven for 45 minutes or until a nice golden crust forms. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes so it can set before slicing.