Pastitsio. Without fail, this is the one meal that gets INHALED by all of us. My nearly 4 year old virtually consumes his body weight in the stuff. One ‘serves 6’ batch of this keeps us in dinners for 3 nights with a lunch or two thrown in for good measure.
Pastitsio is the Greek version of lasagne, and this, my gorgeous Mother-in-Law’s recipe, is her gluten free version. I adore her for the way she has taken all her traditional family recipes and fiddled with them over the years to make them suitable for me to eat as a coeliac. If gluten free isn’t an issue in your home, simply substitute ‘normal’ flour and pasta and your results will be the same.
This is a wonderful recipe for a MamaBake session and freezes well.
(Serves 4 families (or 12 ppl) – 1 bake per family)
2 x 500g bags penne pasta (gluten free)
For white sauce:
3 cups flour
2 L milk
6 tablespoons butter and a little olive oil
4 cups Parmesan cheese (2 cups for in the pasta & 2 cups for the topping)
For the mince:
1kg beef mince
2 small onions – diced
2 400g tins of tomatoes
Salt & Pepper
Cook the pasta, drain and place in a large bowl and toss through 2 cups of Parmesan cheese.
Make the white sauce:
Melt the butter and oil in a large saucepan.
Remove from the heat and stir in the flour, gradually, mixing all the time.
Return to a low heat and stir for a minute or so.
Slowly add the milk, whisking all the time.
Bring to a simmer and stir until the sauce thickens.
Add the remaining parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
To cook the mince:
Heat some olive oil in a large frypan.
Add the onion and saute until cooked and translucent.
Add the mince, and brown well.
Add the tomatoes and simmer for 15-30 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and the meat cooked.
Season with salt and pepper.
Stir 10 tablespoons of the white sauce mix into the cooked pasta and cheese bowl.
Add the mince mixture and stir well.
Divide mix into 4 baking dishes (or two large, deep dishes) and cover with the remaining sauce.
Cook, uncovered, in a pre-heated oven set at 180 degrees for 45 minutes or until the cheese is browned.*
*Don’t sprinkle any cheese over the bakes until the last 20 minutes of cooking time, or it will colour too quickly.