No-Bake Pastitsio Recipe

No-Bake Pastitsio Recipe
Contributor
No-Bake Pastitsio
Maryse Chevriere

No-Bake Pastitsio

I fell in love with Pastitsio (essentially Greek lasagna) the first time I had it. A baked casserole of tube pasta with spiced lamb ragù and creamy, rich béchamel — a sort of divine Bolognese-mac 'n cheese hybrid. The thing is, between the two sauces, assembly, and 45-minute bake time, it's a pretty labor-intensive dish (especially for a weeknight).

So, with apologies to any arbiters of authenticity, I present my slightly simpler, no-bake rendition.

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Ingredients

For the meat sauce and pasta:

  • ½ yellow onion, finely diced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 pound tube pasta
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Breadcrumbs, preferably panko, for topping
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

For the béchamel:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • ½ cup of flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Directions

For the meat sauce and pasta:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the onions with a drizzle of olive oil for a few minutes until they begin to become transluscent. Add in the ground lamb and spices and mix well to integrate. Once the meat is cooked through, add the tomatoes and wine and reduce heat to medium low and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 

While the sauce is cooking, put a pot of salted water on to boil. When the meat sauce is about ready, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and add to meat sauce and mix well to make sure the sauce is fully integrated.

For the béchamel:

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Once ready, whisk in the flour until there are no lumps, and let it cook for a minute or 2. Next, pour in the warmed milk in a continuous stream, whisking all the while. Let the sauce simmer until it thickens, stirring regularly and taking care to make sure it doesn't boil.

Add the egg yolks to a mixing bowl, pour in the white sauce and whisk. Add in the cheese, pepper, and nutmeg. It should have the consistency of a white gravy, thick to where it sticks to a spoon but still a little loose.

To serve, plate the sauced pasta, top with a spoonful of béchamel, and finish with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs and parsley.

Pastitsio Shopping Tip

Stock up on good quality extra-virgin olive oil, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, red wine vinegar, oregano, and lemons – these ingredients are central to Greek cuisine

Pastitsio Cooking Tip

Simplicity is the secret to Greek cuisine, so paying attention to details such as marinating, seasoning well, and using only the freshest ingredients is key.