Pastitsio-A ‘lighter’ Greek Lasagna!

First of all….it’s SNOWING!!!!! I love waking up to that white stuff on the ground.

More the reason for a cozy comforty food.

I know, you think of the word lasagna and things like cheesy, meaty ,and noodly layers come to mind.  Hmmmm.

Well today you’re going to want to adopt this Greek recipe (the way I want to adopt a cute puppy). The word Pastitsio pronounced (pah-STEET-see-oh) is similar to a traditional lasagna with different counterparts. My first introduction was likely 8 years ago when Aunt Mitza served it up at a holiday gathering. The components include a bechamel sauce, cinnamon, and ground lamb-of which I don’t eat, but I did a real good job at picking all the meat out (Shameless).

What did I do next? Found a recipe and messed around, what else? I’ve replaced lamb with ground turkey (only cause I won’t eat lamb), used lighter milk, less butter and that’s about it! It’s best served right out of the oven cause the creaminess of the sauce is just so perfect, but you can’t beat the leftovers!

Serve it with a side of steamed veggies for some crunch and color and you’re done!

RECIPE

Adapted From: Martha Stewart (Original Recipe here)

Serves: 4-6 (depends on the size of your portions)

Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Equipment:

  • Large Saucepan
  • Large Skillet
  • 9×13 glass baking dish

Ingredients

For the Meaty Filling

  • 1 pound penne, cooked and drained
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (or lamb if you desire)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon goodness! (I always add more while the meat sauce cooks up, plus more for dusting)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (you really need to play with the salt here)

For the Bechamel Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk (I use 1 %, organic milk-or substitute)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions

Pre-Prep-chop the onion and set aside.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta, and drain.  Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, over medium heat, cook the turkey, breaking apart pieces, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a colander; drain fat, and discard. Return turkey to pan; add wine. Cook over medium heat until almost all liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in tomato paste, cinnamon (More is always merrier!), and 2 cups water; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 minutes or more (Mine is ready in fifteen). Season with salt and pepper.

Line up for Bechamel

Meanwhile:

  1. Make the Bechamel sauce while the meat mixture is simmering: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; whisk in flour until incorporated. In a slow steady stream, whisk in milk until there are no lumps.
  2. Cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick and bubbly and coats the back of a wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Be careful not to burn the bottom. Pay attention here. Stir in Parmesan.
  3. Combine the pasta and turkey mixture; transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour sauce over the top, smoothing with the back of a spoon until level. Sprinkle with cinnamon evenly (makes the presentation more impressive and a bit rustic).
  4. Bake until browned in spots, 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes or so before serving.

Chefs Tips:

  • Make this on an evening or afternoon when you have time!
  • If serving 2, you’ll have dinner for at least 2 nights, perhaps freeze half!
  • Add sauteed spinach into the meat mixture (while not traditional it adds a veggie and some color.
  • Serve with a nice glass of red wine, I love marquis phillips cabernet sauvignon.

BON APPETIT!

Have you had this dish?

What’s your favorite GREEK FOOD or RECIPE!

You might also want to try:

FASOLAKIA!

or another comforty dish:

Tomato Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

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16 thoughts on “Pastitsio-A ‘lighter’ Greek Lasagna!

  1. Pingback: Stewy Greek Beans | A Girl and Her Carrot

  2. Pingback: Stewy Greek Beans « A Girl and Her Carrot

  3. This looks fabulous! Although I do eat lamb and beef, I often sub them out for leaner proteins so I don’t feel so guilty 🙂 I’d love a giant plate of this right now… my dinner is starting to wear off, haha.

    • Hmmm, what was your dinner that wore off? Ha. I shockingly still have some lasagna left! Never feel guilty eating food! Sometimes you’ve just gotta eat the cookie, or beef, or lamb, or pizza. Do tell if you make this recipe!

  4. As soon as I woke up and looked outside, the snow just make me think it’s pretty but I dont want another 20 feet lol. Anywho, this very unique greeklasagna really looks amazing

    • Welcome back! 20 feet wouldn’t really be fun, unless you were on the ski slopes (is that just me?). Serve the lasagna with some Ouzo (Greek liqour that tastes like licorice in case you didn’t know) and it packs a real punch! Opa!

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