Recipe: Pastitsio < Back to Food
Pastitsio | Baked Pasta Casserole
¼ cup olive oil
3 medium onions, finely chopped
1 ½ pounds ground lean beef
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 cups peeled and chopped plum tomato
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 to 8 whole cloves
1 ½ teaspoons all spice
15 to 20 crushed black peppercorns
Salt, to taste
2 to 3 eggs, lightly beaten (optional)
1 ½ pounds thick spaghetti
Grated kefalotyri or parmesan cheese
6 to 8 medium béchamel
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add onion and sauté until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Add meat and continue stirring until meat begins to brown. Add garlic, tomatoes, spices, peppercorns, and salt. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed and meat is cooked (add water if necessary). Remove pan from heat, let meat cool slightly, then add beaten eggs (optional).
While meat is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until it is almost done. (It should be just a little firmer than normal). Remove and drain. Toss with 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil and grated cheese in a large bowl to keep it from sticking.
Preheat oven to 350°F. With remaining olive oil, lightly grease an 11x15x3-inch baking pan.
Make béchamel, adding 3 well-beaten egg yolks, allspice, nutmeg, and grated kefalotyri to sauce, beating vigorously with a wire whisk.
Spread half the spaghetti evenly across bottom of baking pan. Pour in meat sauce, spreading evenly over pasta. Sprinkle with 1 to 2 tablespoons grated cheese. Add remaining pasta. Pour béchamel sauce over pasta, making sure it’s evenly spread over the top of the pan. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons grated cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes, until béchamel thickens and swells and a golden brown crust forms on top.