1 1/2 pounds tubular pasta
1 cup of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 1/4 cups of chopped onions
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
2 1/2 cups of peeled, chopped plum tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
6 whole cloves
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/4 cups of grated kefalotyri cheese
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
basic béchamel sauce
For the meat sauce:
In a large skillet, sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until translucent.
Add meat and continue to stir until lightly browned.
Add tomatoes, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, salt, and pepper and stir well to combine.
Reduce heat and simmer until liquid has been absorbed (approximately 30 minutes).
Set meat mixture aside and allow to cool uncovered.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Lightly grease a baking or roasting pan approximately 11 X 14 X 3 inches high.
For the pasta:
Cook until al dente (just underdone), drain, toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, set aside.
Prepare a basic béchamel sauce
Spread the breadcrumbs evenly on the bottom of the pan. Use 1/2 the pasta for the first layer and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the grated cheese.
Remove cloves from the sauce, add the meat sauce evenly over the pasta, and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Add the remaining pasta on top. Carefully pour the béchamel over the top and use a spatula to spread evenly.
Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese on top, and continue to bake for another 15 to 30 minutes until the sauce rises and turns golden brown.
Remove pan from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Pastitsio, also known as baked ziti, is a traditional Greek layered meat and pasta dish. There are many variations but typically the bottom layer is some type of tubular pasta, such as bucatini, topped with a layer of ragu (veal, beef or lamb with tomato and spices such as allspice, nutmeg, cloves and/or cinnamon), topped with another layer of pasta, then finally an egg-based custard and/or a bechamel sauce. Pecorino cheese may be used in place of the kefalotyri.
Monday, November 30, 2009 - 12:37pm