Pastitsio is a Greek pasta dish that is served as a main course. I made this dish a few years ago and decided to make it again. Normally you would use a tube pasta, such as ziti, but elbow pasta works fine. The original recipe calls for jarred Alfredo sauce. Since I didn’t want to buy jarred sauce and this month’s Waiter, There’s Something In My… challenge is sauces, I decided to make my own. I haven’t made homemade Alfredo sauce since high school, so I was hoping everything would work, and it did. If you don’t want the sauce to be as dry, cut back on the parmesan cheese. Also, the cinnamon and nutmeg may sound weird in this dish, but trust me you need to add them.
8 oz. elbow or tube pasta
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 cup green pepper, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp water
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray casserole dish non-stick cooking spray. Boil pasta in water for 10 minutes; drain. Run under cold water so the pasta won’t cook any further.
2. Meanwhile, brown beef in skillet. Drain grease; remove beef to separate plate. Wipe any remaining grease from skillet. Return beef; add tomatoes, onion, garlic, peppers, and cinnamon. Cook for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Drain any remaining tomato juice.
3. Spread half the pasta into casserole dish. Add meat mixture on top. Cover with remaining pasta.
4. In saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter and cream, stirring constantly. If you don’t stir constantly, a milk skin will form on top. Whisk in cheese, egg yolk, lemon juice, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; add water.
5. Pour sauce over pasta dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Casserole should be bubbly and golden brown.
Source: Dish from Family Circle Sept. 2001, p. 136; Sauce from high school cooking class