Monday, 5 July 2010

What is Pastitsio and how do you make it?

Pastitsio is a traditional Greek dish, which is less well known than moussaka, which is common to both Greek and Turkish cuisines. If you’ve sampled this in a Greek taverna, it was not what pastitsio really is. It takes about an hour to prepare and then there’s the cooking time, so make sure you have plenty of time to make it. Chill out while it’s in the oven with a glass of wine! It’s a good dish for weekends as it’s really tasty and a real treat, and well worth the effort you have to put in to making it.

500 gr minced beef, or lamb
2 large onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp dried thyme
½ inch piece of cinnamon ground to a fine powder
5 fl oz natural yoghurt
250 gr cheddar cheese, grated
½ ltr milk
50 gr butter
40 gr plain flour
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
300 gr macaroni, cooked
cooking oil

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onions and garlic over a high heat until they start to sweat, then turn down the heat and stir until transparent and almost brown. Put in the minced meat and cook until brown.
Add the tomato puree to soak up some of the oil, and stir. Then stir in the cinnamon, thyme and seasonings and cook for a further 5 mins and cook for a further 5 mins
Remove from the heat while you make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a pan and remove from the heat. Add the flour and stir so that it forms a smooth paste. Then add a little milk and stir into the paste. Add some more and stir while putting it back over a low heat. Continue adding the milk a little at a time and stirring well so that the sauce doesn’t go lumpy. (If it does, put it in a blender and blend till smooth.) Bring it to the boil and stir for 5 mins. Then remove the pan from the heat and add the yoghurt and cheese. Put back on a low heat but do not let the sauce boil. Keep stirring.
Put half the cooked macaroni into a greased ovenproof dish and cover with half the.
In a greased ovenproof dish, put half the cooked macaroni and mix with a third of the cheese sauce. Stir it in well. Now add the minced meat mixture, then the rest of the macaroni. Cover with the sauce and top with grated cheese.
Bake in a preheated medium oven for 30 -45 mins, until the cheese golden brown.
This has Taste and is a Treat.

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