Monday, November 5, 2012

224. Greek Lasagna (Pastitsio)

I honestly do not remember last year being this cold.  I am freezing and we are only in the early months of a long and cold winter it would seem.

I have been craving casseroles; this one in particular, Greek Lasagna.  I call it a casserole because it is basically an all-in-one type of meal.

I love the layers, the meat sauce and the béchamel sauce on top.  Together the combination is out of this world.

Don't be put off by the cinnamon in the meat, it really gives this dish a unique and yet familiar flavoring.

As with all of my pasta dishes, I use gluten free choices.  My favorite are those made with rice. I don't like the flavor of the corn or the texture.

I had a bit of béchamel sauce left over and so the next day I tossed it together with some noodles, baked it and boy did my kids scarf that quick meal up.

Let me know how you like this dish if you try it at home.  There are variations of this all over the internet, let me know if your recipe is a bit different too. I am always up to trying something new.


Recipe:  Greek Lasagna

One box of elbow pasta, cooked according to directions and drained (I used gluten free noodles)
Meat Sauce (recipe below)
Bechamel Sauce (recipe below)

Meat Sauce

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
3 tablespoons of tomato sauce (you can use paste, I just did not want to waste the rest of the can)
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
1/2 cup red wine
1 (15oz) can of tomato sauce ( I used my 3 tablespoons above out of this can)
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese ( you can use Romano cheese too)

Bechamel Sauce

5 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of flour (use brown rice flour for a gluten free version)
3 cloves of minced garlic
3 cups of 2% milk
2 cups of heavy cream
1 1/2 cups of grated Romano Cheese
3 large eggs
1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil.  Add onions and cook until soft.  Add 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce, garlic, oregano and cinnamon.  Cook until mixture starts to darken.  Add ground beef.  Cook until meat is no longer pink.  Add wine.  Let simmer until wine has reduced to about 1 tablespoon.  Add tomato sauce and simmer until thick.  This will take about 10 minutes.  Stir in romano cheese; salt and pepper to taste.

Remove meat from heat and set aside.

In a separate pan melt the butter for the béchamel sauce. Add flour and stir to combine.  Stir in milk and cream; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium so this can reduce down to about 4 cups.  Time will vary, but plan on about 15 minutes for this to happen.  Remove from heat once thickened and reduced, add 1 cup of the Romano cheese and stir until smooth.

Using a 9X13 baking dish, add prepared noodles and 2 cups of béchamel sauce; stir and smooth out in bottom of pan.

With the remaining 2 cups of béchamel sauce you will need to add the eggs and yogurt.  This step is delicate because you don't want to scramble the eggs.   In a small bowl, beat the 3 eggs.  Slowly add 1 cup of the béchamel sauce to the eggs, then take the béchamel/egg mixture and add it to the last cup of béchamel sauce.  Stir in yogurt.

Take the above remaining sauce and spread over the top of the meat.  Sprinkle the last 1/2 cup of Romano cheese on top.

Bake 35 minutes.  Let sit for 10 before serving.


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