Monday, 24 October 2011

kali orexi*

pasticcio macaroni is one of my favourite greek dishes and i have fond memories of eating it in athenian tavernas as a 21 year's a traditional greek dish similar to lasagne with layers of a special uncut macaroni in a sweet spicy sauce and a creamy cheese bechamel sauce that is baked until it's bubbling and golden crusted..the flavour of pasticcio really shines though when it's served luke warm which is the typical way it would be eaten in greece..

it's a great dish that feeds many and can be reheated successfully (it's even better the next day)..i've adapted the recipe i've used over the years from the recipe in 'the best of greek cookery' by chrissa paradissis that was my first greek cookbook..the main changes i've made are the addition of cinnamon and allspice to the meat sauce which are traditionally used in pasticcio by some greek cooks..

pasticcio macaroni recipe
8-10 people

meat sauce ingredients
750 gms of minced beef or lamb
2 finely diced medium onions
1-2 cloves garlic finely cut
1 cup of white wine
750 gms tomato puree
2 tbs tomato paste
10 allspice
1/2 tbs cinnamon
1/2 tbs greek origano
1 tsp chilli flakes
2-3 tbs olive oil
2 egg whites

cheese sauce
60 gms butter
4 tbs plain flour
1 litre warm milk
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 cup of tasty cheese**
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

500 gms 6.3 mm hollow pasta (or macaroni or penne)
1 cup tasty cheese
olive oil
approx 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

meat sauce method
heat olive oil in a large frying pan and saute minced meat, onion and garlic until slightly browned
add remainder of ingredients except for egg whites, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes
cool and then stir in egg whites

cheese sauce method
melt butter in a heavy based saucepan, add the flour and cook stirring until smooth and gold in colour
add milk in stages stirring well between additions and cook until the mixture just boils
remove from the heat and add cheese, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste and then the eggs and egg yolks

cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente
drain and return to the pan and add 1/2 of the cheese and 2-3 soup ladles of the cheese sauce

brush a 30x38x6 cm baking dish with olive oil and distribute bread crumbs to cover the base and sides of the dish
add half the pasta, cover with the meat filling and then add remaining pasta
cover with the cheese sauce
sprinkle with remaining cheese and bread crumbs
bake in a moderate oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden and bubbling
leave for 20 minutes and then cut into squares to serve

a greek salad or a green salad are the usual accompaniments

 *  means good appetite
 **i often use a combination of cheeses such as tasty (or kefalograviera or kasseri),  parmesan (or mizithra) and feta..

i love the way the pasta on the top becomes a bit chewy


  1. Kali Orexi indeed! I love Greek food and I never ever cook it. Perhaps the prompt I need, thanks Jane :-)

  2. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I've tried this before and it's a very comforting dish :)

  3. thanks brydie and's not a very well known dish in next attempt will be to make a vegetarian version..

  4. Efaristo poli! Brian loves this and I have never made it, so maybe I will surprise him with it one day soon. I have Greek oregano in the garden, tough little herb, self seeds everywhere :)

  5. parakalo photos don't do it justice at really was a lot more appetizing than it looks..i have since had a look at the camera manual! :)

    and would you believe that i've only just planted a greek oregano..the dried oregano i'm using at the moment has such sentimental provenance that i never want it to run children and i bought it in kardamyli on the peloponnese where we used it to make our own greek salads which we would eat with a crusty village loaf sitting on our balcony overlooking the sea and mountains..

    1. Guess what ? I finally made this tonight and it is bubbling away in the oven and I am looking forward to it like crazy :) Your instructions were really easy to follow and the whole kitchen smells of cinammon and cheese and oregano ...

    2. hi jo..i'm interested to know whether you both liked it..unfortunately i find a lot of greek food tastes better in greece..i don't know if that's because of the ambience or whether the greek soil and climate affects the taste of the produce there..x

    3. Darling we loved it and we have just finished eating the last two portions tonight. It doesn't really taste like greek food in greece. What could? I was using up some lamb mince that had sat in the freezer for an age and it was a bit bland but the spices and chilli helped a lot. I couldn't find the right pasta exactly so I used some Italian macaroni. I have greek oregano everywhere in the garden, I figure that it really is greek because it seeds itself so vigorously in the tiniest cracks in the pavings as well as the soil. I used feta and cheddar and parmesan for the cheese sauce. . And I love cinammon with lamb not a typical English combo at all. I also loved the way it reheats and gets a little bounciness to the top if you know what I mean, a bit springy! xx