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Laikon’s Famous Pastitsio

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This home-style recipe is a Mediterranean favourite. Think of it as macaroni cheese meets lasagne – an irresistible combo!

There are two classic cheeses in this dish, both available from the Laikon counter.

  • Mizithra is a firm Greek cheese made from a blend of cow, goat and sheep milk and often used like a Greek version of Pamesan. It is similar to the Italian Ricotta Salata.
  • The hard cheese we use is Kefalograviera. It’s excellent combined in béchamel and makes for a great saganaki too.

We like to use San Marzano tomatoes, because they’re sweeter and less acidic than the other heirloom plum varieties.Try them yourself, and you’ll see it’s the perfect partner to the dish’s seasoned ground beef.

Take your time with this recipe and enjoy the process. Bake the Pastitsio until golden brown and serve with a seasonal fresh salad and a quality bottle of red.

Pastitsio Serves about 4-6
2/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 onion, grated
500g minced beef
1 cup San Marzano tomatoes
1 tbs tomato paste
A pinch of cinnamon
3 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
Salt& pepper to taste
1 egg white, lightly beaten
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup Mizithra cheese
300g Misco macaroni No. 2 Pasta
5 tbs melted butter, and a bit extra for brushing
3 tbs breadcrumbs
2 cups Kefalograviera cheese
3 cups béchamel sauce (recipe below)
A pinch of grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 180c. Brush a medium sized dish with melted butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and cook over low heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally.Increase heat to medium and add the minced beef. Cook for about 15 minutes until lightly browned, breaking up with the back of a fork.

Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, cinnamon and parsley and season with salt and pepper.Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 mins. Remove from heat when the liquid has reduced.Fold in egg white and 1/2 cup Mizithra.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook to packet instructions. Drain and toss with the melted butter. Allow to cool,then stir in the Kefalograviera.

Make the béchamel sauce (see recipe below). Fold the egg yolks and remaining cheese into the béchamel sauce, season with salt and pepper and stir in the nutmeg.

Line the base of the dish with half the pasta mixture and spread the meat mixture on top.Cover with remaining pasta and pour the béchamel sauce over.

Bake for about 1 hour until the top is golden brown.Let the dish stand for about 15 mins before serving.

Béchamel Sauce
3 cup milk 6 tbs butter
6 tbs plain flour
A few pinches of ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour the milk into a small pan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat.

Melt the butter in a heavy based pan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring frequently for about one minute.

Remove pan from the heat and gradually pour in the hot milk, stirring constantly until the mixture is nice and smooth.

Return the sauce to stovetop and rise to a medium heat. Simmer, stirring constantly for a bout 10 mins.Remove from heat. Stir in nutmeg and season to taste.

Article Links
Beef & Lamb: http://www.beefandlamb.com.au/Recipes/All_recipes/Detail/Pastitsio