Pastitsio is a Greek baked pasta dish traditionally made with ground lamb or beef, often with bits of spiced or cured meat mixed in – this is a heavy Greek alternative to Lasagna Bolognese. In this make-ahead recipe, Rach uses an equally traditional phyllo tart filling to lighten up the end result. Though it remains rich, it’s not heavy – envision a well-made spinach or vegetable lasagna.
- 1 pound ziti or long, hollow pasta tubes, such as Buon Italia or Greek macaroni #2*
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 large or 2 medium bundles chard, stemmed and chopped
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh dill leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 brick Greek feta in water, drained (about 1 cup crumbled feta)
- 1 cup freshly shredded or grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
If you’re serving this baked pasta on the night you prepare it, pre-heat the oven to 375ºF.
Heat the water to a boil for pasta, salt the water and undercook the pasta by about 2 minutes.
While the water comes to a boil, heat the EVOO in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add the garlic and onions. Soften for a few minutes, then stir in the chard to wilt. Add the scallions, dill, mint, parsley and black pepper. Reduce the heat to a simmer and keep the greens warm.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a saucepot over medium to medium-high heat. As soon as the butter melts, add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened.
Drain the pasta and place it back in the hot pot. Stir it together with the greens and feta to combine; taste to adjust the seasoning. Place the pasta in a casserole dish and top with the bechamel sauce and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Bake in the oven until bubbly and brown, 20 minutes, or cool and cover and store for a make-ahead meal. To reheat, place in a 375ºF oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, until brown.