PasticcioCourse: MainCuisine: Mediterranean, GreekDifficulty: Easy
Pasticcio is a straightforward, traditional Greek dish. It is a specialty of Mediterranean cuisine, consisting of pasta with meatballs and béchamel sauce. The appellation dates to the early 16th century and is derived from the Italian Pasticcio. The Greek version was created at the turn of the 20th century by the French-educated Greek chef Nikolaos Tselementes.
This dish, also known as “Pastitsio” in some regions, holds a special position in the hearts of Greeks and foodies everywhere. Pasticcio effortlessly embodies the essence of Greek cuisine by combining fragrances, textures, and flavors in a balanced manner.
Pasticcio is a baked pasta dish composed of layers of long, hollow pasta strands called “Makaronia,” a decadent meat sauce, and a velvety béchamel sauce. Each layer is meticulously prepared and assembled with care to create a flavor symphony that leaves an indelible impression on the tongue.
The substantial meat sauce forms the foundation of Pasticcio. Typically, ground beef or lamb is simmered in a mixture of aromatic onions, garlic, and seasonings such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. This enticing blend imparts a complexity of flavors to the meat, elevating the dish to new heights. With the inclusion of ripe tomatoes and tomato paste, the meat sauce acquires a delightful acidity and sweetness.
Pasta, an essential component of Pasticcio, is prepared to perfection and then combined with a tomato-based sauce. The long, hollow tubes gracefully cradle the meat sauce, ensuring that each morsel is a delectable combination of textures. The firmness of the pasta provides a satisfying bite, while its ability to incorporate the meat sauce’s flavorful juices adds depth to each morsel.
The béchamel sauce is the pièce de résistance atop the pasta layer. This velvety mixture, made from a delicate combination of butter, flour, and milk, enhances the Pasticcio’s smoothness and opulence. When baked to perfection, the béchamel is generously spread over the pasta, producing a golden crust. This golden crown not only adds visual appeal, but also transmits a subtle hint of nuttiness, which enhances the overall flavor harmony.
Once Pasticcio is assembled, it endures a transformation in the oven. The heat induces the flavors to combine, resulting in a dish that is more than the sum of its elements. The enticing aroma wafts through the kitchen, leaving in its aftermath a trail of anticipation. When the dish is finally served, its golden exterior beckons, promising a flavorful symphony that is ready to be savored.
400g of macaroni
100g of grated cheese
300g of minced meat
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons of oregano
- Béchamel sauce
200 ml of milk
¼ cup flour
30g of butter
- Clean the onion, chop it and sauté it.
- Add meat, then tomatoes and spices.
- Cook the macaroni and arrange them in a dish.
- Over the macaroni, put the sauce with the meat, then the macaroni again.
- Pour over the bechamel sauce, which is made by melting butter, adding flour, frying, then adding milk, salt and pepper.
- Put grated cheese on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.