Monday, April 27, 2009

Pastitsio!


How good does that look?

I can tell you from experience, that the smell is even better!

What's in there, you ask?

A little bit of zucchini and red pepper sauteing in some garlic and olive oil with just a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash of marjoram. You don't like zucchini? That's cool - you can totally use eggplant. There's also a swig or two of red wine in there and a handful of chopped fresh parsley and of course, cups and cups of deliciously diced tomatoes.

Just imagine layers and layers of the wine-infused vegetables, egg noodles tossed with Parmesan cheese, and feta cheese. What makes this dish completely irresistible is the warm, creamy, bechamel sauce we pour on top.

Can you see it?
Can you smell it?
Can. You. TASTE IT????

Ummmmm....

Let's make it for real, shall we?

Oh wait! Before we start, the original recipe called for lentils, but I think lentils are creepy and mushy. My mother used to hide them in her lasagna and I would get so upset. "You can't even taste them," she would say, to which I would respond, "Well then, how did I find them?" So, needless to say, the lentils were left out of this dish and replaced with good old hamburger. :)

Pastitsio

Vegetable Sauce
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
One Cup Onions
2 to 3 Garlic Cloves
4 Cups Cubed Zucchini (one-inch)
One Cup Diced Red Pepper
1/4 Cup Dry Red Wine
One Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Marjoram
Three Cups Undrained Canned Tomatoes, Chopped (28 ounce can)
1/4 Cup Parsley Chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

One Pound Hamburger, cooked (optional)

Noodle Layer
8 Ounces Wide Egg Noodles
2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan or Asiago Cheese

Bechamel Sauce
3 Tablespoons Butter
1/4 Cup Flour
2 Cups Milk, heated to just below scalding
1/8 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Salt or to taste
3 Eggs, lightly beaten

Cheeses
One Cup Grated Feta Cheese
1/4 Cup Parmesan or Asiago Cheese

Heat oil in a large saucepan and saute' the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the zucchini, red pepper, wine, cinnamon, oregano, and marjoram; cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the tomatoes, parsley, salt and black pepper and continue to cook on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender. Stir in the cooked hamburger - if you want the protein.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the egg noodles, and cook for 8-10 minutes, until just al dente. Drain and toss with the olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Cover and set aside.

Melt the butter in a small heavy saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add the hot milk and continue to whisk for several minutes, until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, add the nutmeg and salt, and then stir in the beaten eggs. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Oil a 3 quart, 9x13-inch baking dish.

To assemble the pastitsio, spread half of the vegetable sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Layer half of the noodles on next and top with half of the feta. Repeat the layers of vegetable sauce, noodles, feta. Evenly spoon all of the bechamel sauce on top and finish with the Parmesan Cheese.

Cover and bake for about 25 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 15-25 minutes, until bubbly and golden on top.



Can you believe all those fabulous vegetables are hiding under that velvety bechamel sauce? Believe it, because it's alll in there!

Coming Soon... A Heavenly Hashbrown Quiche

1 comments:

Miss Got Wings said...

Bechamel can be so tricky. We went through about 3 batches before we got it just right for a wicked tray of baked ziti.

Yay for Greek pasta . . . . .or any Greek food for that matter~

Opa~

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