Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pastisio... finally!

   Recently regular Italian lasagna was discussed.  Now it is time for Greek lasagna!  Ok, it's not really lasagna but it is the same basic idea:  ground meat, pasta, tomatoes, cheesy sauce.  My friends and I went to the Nashville Greek Festival a couple months ago.  Heather bought some pastisio that was delish.  I was like, "Hey, we can totally make this at home!"  So a few weeks later we did.  I would have blogged it earlier except that I didn't write down amounts and I forgot to put eggs in the bechamel (basic white sauce.)  Well, I forgot to tell Sarina to put eggs in the bechamel (she makes a kickass cheesy white sauce!)  It was still super yummy, but there was no way I could share it as a recipe.  This past Sunday we made it again so now I can share!

1 recipe parmesan sauce (see below)
1 lb short cut pasta, cooked 2 min less than package directions
1 lb ground beef (or lamb)
1 lrg zucchini, chopped
2 lrg carrots, chopped
1 med onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 can (14 oz) crushed or diced tomatoes
1/2 C red wine (optional, stock maybe substituted)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 bay leaves
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

   In a large pan, saute onions and carrots in a little bit of oil over medium heat until tender, 5 min.  Brown ground beef.  Add zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, wine, and spices.  Simmer until liquid reduces by one half, ~15 min.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Fold in cooked pasta.  Pour into a greased 13x9x2 baking dish.  Evenly spread parmesan sauce over the top.
   Bake at 400 deg F for 30-35 min.
   Serves 8
TIP:  Oh no!  You don't have the amount of cinnamon you thought you had!  Do you have pumpkin pie spice?  2 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice may be used instead of the cinnamon and clove.  The spice blend is mostly cinnamon with just a touch of clove, nutmeg, and ginger.  Pumpkin pie spice may be used in any recipe that calls for cinnamon as long as you don't have some weird blend that has sugar added.  (This happened to us the first time we made pastisio.)
   And shit!  That can of tomatoes is no where to be found?  Use half a jar of marinara, your audience will never know the difference.  (This happened to us the second time we made it.)

Parmesan Sauce
3 Tbsp butter
1/4 C flour
1 1/2 C milk
1/2 C cream*
1 1/2 C parmesan cheese
2 lrg eggs
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper
*If you are using whole milk, all 2C can be milk.

   Melt butter over medium heat.  Whisk in flour, make sure there are no lumps.  Slowly add milk and cream, whisking constantly.  Cook for 3-4 min until mixture starts to thicken.
   Beat eggs in a bowl.  Add a few tablespoons of hot milk mixture to eggs, stir constantly.  (This is tempering... making sure your eggs don't scramble when they hit the pan of hot sauce.)  Add eggs to sauce.
   Slowly work cheese into sauce.  Add nutmeg.  Lightly salt and pepper.
**This is a good basic sauce and would be great with vegetables (ie. veggie gratin)
Photos by Heather!<3
Oh! And check it, Heather has a photography blog now!

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