INA GARTEN’S PASTITSIO #INA #Garten #Pastitsio #Dinner #Easydinner #Bestdinner #Healthydinner #Delecious #Pasta

Pastitsio, it’s what I like to call stick to your ribs-kinda-food. Or as Scott calls it, “take a bite then do ten push-ups…then repeat 20 times.”

If you’re unfamiliar with this Greek dish, you’re in for a treat. Traditionally Pastitsio is a pasta dish layered with meat, tomato sauce, pasta, and a creamy bechamel. It’s baked together to form a lasagna and has a distinct flavor with the help of a little cinnamon. I was introduced to authentic Pastitsio a few months back and have had it bookmarked on Ina Garten’s Make it Ahead cookbook since. In this recipe we bend the traditional ways a bit by combining together the sauce, meat, and pasta, then layering with bechamel & cheese for a pasta bake kinda like you would baked ziti.

I have been on a comfort food rampage lately. Crab mac & cheese, chicken Marsala with paparadelle, collard greens, overnight ham, and now Pastitsio. I don’t know if it’s because I’m in the middle of our busiest wedding season yet and all I want to do is come home to a bottle glass of wine with a satisfying meal, or because the weather is changing. Probably a little mix of both. Hopefully you’re feeling it too because this Pastitsio is what I call comfort. Let’s cook.


For the Meat Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound lean ground lamb (can substitute for pork)
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 large cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (28 ounces) San Marzano tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Bechamel

  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan, divided
  • 2/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 pound small shells, preferably ziti noodles

For the Meat Sauce

  • In a large pot, preferably a Dutch Oven, add the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the ground beef and lamb and continue to cook for 10 minutes, crumbling with a spoon, until no longer pink.
  • Drain any excess liquid and add the wine. Cook for 2-3 minutes until almost all of the wine has absorbed.
  • Add the garlic, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, and cayenne, and allow to cook 5 minutes to incorporate the flavors.
  • Add the tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Crush the tomatoes with a spoon if needed. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40-45 minutes. Set aside until needed.

For the Bechamel

  1. à the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small sauce pan. Stir in the flour using a wooden spoon and allow to cook for 2 minutes until you no longer smell raw flour (or until you only smell butter).
  3. Add the milk while whisking constantly. Increase the heat to a simmer, and continue to stir frequently until the milk has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7-8 minutes. Once smooth and thick, add the nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Season to taste and adjust if needed. Stir in 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for ten minutes. Stir in the Greek yogurt and set aside.
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