Usually, we visit Corfu, Greece every August, my father-in-law’s native island. This summer, we are going to the Netherlands instead for a wedding so we will miss the blue seas, hot sun and the food…. oh the food!

Just this week I started feeling sad and forlorn about all the things I would not eat this summer. Instead of wallowing in self pity, I decided to start making some of my favorite dishes. I turned to my trusty, dog-eared, Greek cooking handbook. This little book is so dated it is hilarious but has all you need inside to prepare the best Greek feasts. In Corfu, the bookstore carries it in about 15 languages. I often like to image others in Japan or Norway paging through their little blue manual recreating Greek vacation flavors.

Pasticcio is similar to lasagna with less cheese, a thick layer of bechamel sauce on top and special long, hollow-shaped noodles. Do the shape of the noodles really matter? YES! (But, that is a long debate for another blog discussion.) The pasticcio noodles are basically uncut macaroni. You can perhaps find them at a local ethnic grocer. If not, look for bucatini or as a last resort, use regular macaroni. Although, the idea of someone making this with regular macaroni so upsets me that I am almost willing to mail someone a package of noodles if you are seriously considering this recipe and have made every attempt to find the noodles and failed.

The recipe is a bit time consuming as you have to boil noodles, prepare the meat sauce and the bechamel before assembling and baking. But, when you are finished, you will have a huge pan of deliciousness that just tastes betters as the days go on. Pasticcio is leftover heaven.

For an even more authentic experience, serve Pasticcio with Greek Salad and Retsina wine. Follow it with some baklava or Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts.

Like many Greek dishes I have learned to prepare, I have learned to adjust a little of this and a little of that over time to get it just right. Throughout the recipe, I have added my own tips. But, be sure you are tasting regularly and adjusting as needed along the way.

Pasticcio

Meat Sauce:
1 T butter
2 lbs. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon dried greek oregano
and/or fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup white wine
1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 egg whites

Bechamel Sauce:
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
4 cups hot milk
salt and pepper
nutmeg
1 cup grated cheese
2 eggs and 2 egg yolks

Noodles:
1 lb. pasticcio (macaroni) noodles
1 T salt
2 T butter
1 cup grated cheese

For the Meat Sauce:
Heat butter in pan and saute the onions, garlic and meat until browned. Add remaining ingredients except egg whites. Be generous with the spices and taste regularly. Be sure there is enough salt to bring out the flavor. I always add quite a bit more than the recipe calls for. Let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes. Turn off and stir until slightly cooled. Stir in egg whites. (Save the yolks for the bechamel.) You do not want the sauce so hot that it cooks the egg whites immediately. They should be incorporated.

For the Bechamel:
Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Add the flour and whisk for about 1 minute. Add the milk all at once and whisk until sauce is thickened and smooth. I usually heat the milk in another pan or in the microwave before adding. That and a quality, even heating sauce pan help make the best sauce. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. I add quite a healthy dose of each, probably at least 1/2-1 teaspoon. Remove from heat and stir in eggs and cheese. A sharper white cheese works well like Parmesan or Asagio. I do not think Mozzarella has enough flavor.

For the noodles:
Bring water to a boil with salt. Cook noodles until tender but slightly firm. Drain very well and return to pan. Stir in butter.

Assembly:
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large, deep pan (lasagna pan works well). You can see by the amount of ingredients you have, this makes a large dish and serves at least 8 people.

 

Put half the noodles in the pan and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheese. Top the noodles with the meat sauce. Place the rest of the noodles on the meat sauce. Pour the bechamel over the top. Sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Some of the noodles will be sticking through the top which is good because they get brown and crunchy in the oven. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let sit at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

EU43 Comfort US11 Fall 3 RTRY UK9 5 Women'S Casual Blushing Heels CN45 5 2In Pu 2 4In Pink The “little blue book” is called The Best Book of Greek Cookery, ISBN 960 226 119 6

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  • Jason Speer

    This recipe Kick’s A*s. I cooked it tonight for the first time and my family loved it. I only played slightly with the amounts to adjust for individual taste. It took almost three hours with prep and baking. But i would guess now that know the process it could be done in 1.5 to 2 hours.
    Thank You for this!!!!! You are some kind of hero!!!
    Sincerely Jason Speer

  • Jason Speer

    One more comment from about how great this recipe is. I gave some to a friend, he said it was like lasagna on “Steriods”.
    Thanks again.
    Jason Speer

    ps i wolud love any other recipes you have if you are willing to share. I dont have any recipes per say but can recommend some spices for certain dishes. Thanks again

  • Heidi

    Thanks for the recipe! My husband and I met in Greece and it has always been one of my (and now our) favourite places :D Im Norwegian and he is Canadian. We live in Norway… so imagine away that we are cooking Greek recipes here :D

    Pasticcio has always been my favorite Greek dish
    Heidi :D

  • EBNEW

    You mention grated cheese in the recipe. What cheese do you suggest??
    I look forward to cooking this. It is one of my favorite dishes and the only Greek Restaurant in my city closed.

  • John

    Thanks for the great post. As a customer, I have witnessed today there are very few hotels who provides first class customer service with individual attention. Undoubtedly, Corfu hotel in Greece is one of them. I am very pleased with the excellent service.

  • John

    I am very impressed with your post!!! Pelion hotel works all year round and is the perfect destination for both summer and winter holidays. As Pelion is a large area, you will have to pay attention when looking for a Pelion hotel. The only thing for sure is that your holidays will be wonderful.

  • Randy Clarke

    I made this recipe last night – it is delicious – thanks for posting it. The bechamel sause is decadent and wonderful. Thanks again!

  • Belinda
    Pu Purple amp;Amp; UK3 Chunky Women'S Wedding Summer Party Career amp;Amp; EU35 CN34 Pump Evening Heelblushing US5 Heels Office Blue Basic Buckle Pump Dress Pink Basic anvxgtxRq

    My greek mother in law makes this all the time when we go to her house for dinner, and as I have 5 children who love it I wanted to make it for them at home. However, she does not make it with bechamel sauce she just uses cream, but found your recipe and we all think it is so much better than YaYa’s!! Even my husband loves it and of course he rarely thinks anyone can out do his mothers cooking being a good greek boy!!! Now I make it for them every Sunday, and they can’t get enough!! It is great and we have some left over for Monday night as well, as I make up a huge batch, filling a very large baking pan!!! Thanks so much for the fantastic recipe…..

  • Leisure Heels Cloth MDRW Lattices Waterproof Heel Gray Elegant 36 11Cm Mouth Fashion Work Face Temperament Single Spring Fine Platform Fish Shoes Lady PqUrqw4xt Belinda

    One more thing, I cannot find those noodles anywhere in Australia so I use Penne which does the job nicely!!!