Pastichio: Pasta with meat sauce and bechamel


My kids favorite!  Great for lunchboxes, too. And the only real dinner I cooked this week. The holiday season left me  completely cooked out… 🙂 If you’re not Greek, can I reassure you it’s very easy to make  and, yes, please, give it a try to see for yourself?

Recipe

Ingredients

  • one packet really big spaghetti (no 2) available in Greek stores (fine to use rigatoni from the supermarket)
  • a tablespoon olive oil (or butter)
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds minced meat (beef)
  • half cup red wine optional
  • one big can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • salt, pepper, oregano
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • For the bechamel: 1 1/2 stick butter (that’s 12 tablespoons), 12 tablespoons flour, 4 cups warm/hot milk, salt, pepper, 1 cup grated Parmesan and 3-4 eggs optionally
  • More Parmesan for when you arrange all in a pan

How to make:  Cook the past a  in boiling and salted water according to package instructions. Strain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. In big saucepan, saute the onions first, then add the meat and saute until it turns brown (stir with a wooden spoon). Add the wine if you want and cook for a few more minutes. Add salt, pepper, oregano. Then add the crushed tomatoes and the cinnamon sticks and cook at low heat for half an hour. After both the pasta and the meat sauce are ready, get started with the bechamel. Heat the butter in a pot at low heat. At low heat! Add flour and mix using a whisk. Using a whisk! That’s all you need to do to be sure there will be no lumps. Use a whisk. Add a little salt and pepper. Then gradually add the heated milk and stir vigorously using the whisk. Take the bechamel off the heat when it’s become nice and creamy. Add Parmesan and the eggs lightly beaten. Now, off to arrange all in a pan.  Spread a layer of pasta. Sprinkle with Paremesan. Add the meat sauce as another layer. Add remaining pasta as a third layer. Then spread the bechamel evenly on top and sprinkle some more Parmesan on top. That’s it! Cook in pre-heated 375 F oven for about 45 minutes or until the top is brown (see photo).

Notes and tips: We call bechamel the white sauce version that has eggs in it.  In the past, I made the  `bechamel’ sauce with and without eggs and I liked it both ways. The one in the photo is with eggs, and by the puffiness of it, I think I probably  used self-rising flour instead of plain all-purpose flour. So, when you make the sauce with the eggs, pastichio gets its clear layered look and the top is more yellow and firm. When I don’t use eggs, I make the white sauce a tad thinner so it drips in the pasta and makes the whole dish creamier throughout. A less traditional version but equally yummy. Your choice! The cinnamon sticks are important, don’t leave them out.

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3 thoughts on “Pastichio: Pasta with meat sauce and bechamel

  1. Pingback: The 4 Day Diet Push Day 3 « Mydinnertoday's Blog

  2. This was the best Pastichio recipe ever and so easy to follow, thanks!!!

    I made this last night, and was super surprised by how much the recipe made…next time I will probably only do half.

    I separated the eggs (4) and mixed the whites with the pasta and the yolks with the bechamel. Next time I will probably let the bechamel cool a bit more (to thicken) before I pour it on top.

    I used a can of diced tomatoes but it was not nearly enough…thankfully I had a jar of tomato sauce which I added and it worked out great.

    Thanks for such an easy, yummy recipe…this will definitely be my Pastichio go-to recipe from now on!

  3. You made my day! I’m so glad you liked it. You are right, it’s a “big” recipe. That’s because I have a husband and two school-aged kids. So, we need enough to eat dinner and then fill up the lunchboxes for the next day. It’s also a good quantity if you have guests. If you want a thicker bechamel add more flour at the beginning or less milk. I always add the milk gradually and stop when it reaches the consistency I like. Loved the idea about mixing the egg whites with the pasta! I’ll try it next time.

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