Traditionally Delicious and Different Pastitsio
When you think potluck, do you think of spaghetti, cupcakes, and potato salad? A traditional Greek Pastitsio featuring meat and cream would make a delightfully amazing dish to serve at the next family function or potluck. Even though everyone appreciates the cakes, salads and spaghetti, this meal is something that many will enjoy while discovering a different flavored food that they like a lot. This Greek dish will not only give the guests something to talk about, it will probably result in some requesting the recipe and a repeat performance for the next event.
While the thought of making a Greek dish may seem like a challenge, Pastitsio is actually an easy and quick dish to make. The preparation itself takes about ten to twenty minutes, with another forty-five minutes to cook and serve. This easy preparation and cooking time creates a time slot for you to prepare and cook the meal easily while doing other things while it cooks, whether it is spending time with your family or catching up on a chapter of your favorite book. The ingredients are easy to find at your favorite store. This dish heats up quickly in the microwave for another meal.
This is an opportunity to share culture and learning with the family. Discuss the location of Greece and possible reasons why some of their recipes are similar to Italian dishes. You will be able to dispel the image that many people have about Greek food, where they envision lamb kabobs and stuffed grape leaves, which are very good although not filling. Pastitsio is a substantial dish and has delicious flavor. It goes well with green salads and vegetables. Chunky bread, such as French bread or a crusty Russian loaf, is a great accompaniment.
- 2 tablespoons Greek olive oil
- ⅓ cup water with a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice mixed in
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound of ziti
- 3 egg whites
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup mozzarella, grated
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 1 and ½ pounds ground lamb
- 12 ounces tomato juice
- 1 onion
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Béchamel sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Use a 9x13 inch baking dish for this recipe.
- Add 4 cups of water to a large saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add a dash of salt for flavor and the ziti. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not let the pasta become limp.
- Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the ground lamb, stirring it while cooking. The meat will separate into pieces. Grate the peeled garlic over the meat. Peel and slice the onion, mixing it with the garlic and meat. Cook for five minutes, stirring on occasion.
- Stir in the water-lemon juice mix, the rosemary, tomato juice, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low. Let the mixture simmer for ten minutes, stirring to avoid sticking or burning.
- Drain the ziti and put it in a bowl. Use a whisk or mixer to beat the egg whites until they are frothy and pour them in with the ziti. Add the mozzarella and gently mix the ingredients.
- Remove the bay leaves from the sauce and discard.
- Use butter or nonstick cooking spray to coat the inside of the baking dish. Add half of the ziti and pour the sauce over it. Smooth the sauce so it is even and put the rest of the ziti over it. Press it down somewhat to consolidate the mixture.
- Prepare the béchamel sauce. Spread it out over the ziti, topping it with the Parmesan cheese. Put in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it set 10 minutes before serving.
This outstanding and beautiful close up of a Greek Pastitsio shows the beauty in this dish. The cheeses, completely melted with the meat, merge with the creamy inside of the mixture to give it an elegant fluffy appearance. Perfectly cooked noodles are pressed together to create a compact, tasty meal. Put this beautiful meal on a white plate to set off the colors and you have a scrumptious tasting piece of heaven to serve at your next meal. Add a small sprig of parsley leave to create a garnish that makes the dish look presentable and beautiful in its own way.
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