RECIPE

Green Pastitsio

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.

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 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

Preparation

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.

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