Pastichio is a baked pasta dish with béchamel sauce and mince meat. It’s almost like a greek version of lasagna. It is delicious and a favourite at home. This is my version of the greek classic and I hope you enjoy it.
Ingredients for 4 people
- 400 g mince beef mince
- 1 onion
- 1 stick of celery
- 1 carrot
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 tomatoes or 1 tin of tomatoes drained
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- pinch of cinnamon
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 250 g pasta either penne or fuscilli
- a handful of grated parmesan
- a handful of chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- 2 heaped tbsp of corn flour
- 25 g butter
- 600 ml milk
- a pinch of ground nutmeg
- salt and white pepper to taste
Chop the onion, carrot, celery and garlic finely or use the food processor to get them really small. Chop the tomatoes into small cubes and put aside.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and brown the mince. Add the chopped vegetables apart from the tomatoes and a few splashes of water to gently cook them for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the paprika, oregano and cinnamon and season to taste just before it goes off the heat. Leave aside ready to mix with the pasta.
Put the oven on 200 C. Boil the pasta in salted water for 10 minutes or until al-dente. Drain it and set aside. Meanwhile melt the butter and mix it in a pan with all the sauce ingredients. Start cooking it gently on the hob while whisking vigorously. The sauce will gradually get thicker. This method gives you a velvety béchamel style sauce every time without all the heaviness from wheat flour and frying. When the sauce is ready, take it off the heat, taste and adjust the seasoning and mix in most of the parmesan cheese (leave a little to sprinkle on top).
Spread a spoonful of the béchamel on the bottom of a roasting tray. Pour and mix the pasta and the mince mix and level it on top with a spoon. Pour the béchamel sauce on top and sprinkle with little parmesan cheese. Bake on 200 C for 30-40 minutes or until it goes golden on top.
A few tips and tricks:
- This dish is best served warm straight after cooking, however it can also be frozen or kept in the fridge for a few days.
- I always serve pastichio with a greek style salad with olives, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and feta cheese.
- This is my version of making a béchamel sauce, making it a lot lighter and easier to digest ( even though I am still using butter).
- I read somewhere that white pepper is more suitable when making white sauces as it’s more gentle and doesn’t overtake.
I hope you enjoy my recipe, please let me know what you think!