Pastitsio (Layered Greek pasta bake)

    2 hours 20 min

    An extremely tasty Greek pasta dish! My version uses minced lamb, roasted aubergines and a feta cheese sauce mixed with penne pasta and baked until golden on top. Be warned - you will have a lot of pots and pans to wash up afterwards but the result is well worth it! You could break the recipe into steps and make the lamb mince a day ahead. I often double this and freeze one dish.


    1 person made this

    Ingredients
    Serves: 12 

    • 1 large aubergine, halved lengthwise
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 250g chopped onions
    • 450g lamb mince
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 (400g) tin chopped tomatoes
    • 400g tomato passata
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
    • Cheese sauce
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 2 tablespoons plain flour
    • 475ml milk
    • 1 clove garlic, lightly crushed
    • 225g feta cheese
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • black pepper to taste
    • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
    • 350g penne pasta

    Method
    Prep:25min  ›  Cook:1hr45min  ›  Extra time:10min cooling  ›  Ready in:2hr20min 

    1. Preheat the oven grill. Line a baking tray with foil; place aubergine halves on top and cook under the grill, checking often and rotating the baking tray as needed, until the skin blackens and starts to blacken in places, about 15 minutes. Cool until easily handled, about 5 minutes. Peel off skin and coarsely chop flesh.
    2. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onions; cook and stir over medium heat until onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add minced lamb and cook, breaking it up into small pieces, until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
    3. Stir minced garlic, salt, cumin, oregano, pepper and cinnamon into the pan; cook for 1 minute. Stir in chopped aubergine, chopped tomatoes and passata. Bring sauce up to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chopped mint.
    4. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Pour in milk and whisk until smooth. Add crushed garlic clove, increase heat to high and bring milk to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat; discard garlic clove.
    5. Whisk eggs in a large heatproof bowl. Pour hot milk mixture in a steady stream into beaten eggs, whisking constantly. Stir in feta cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
    6. Preheat oven to 220 C / Gas 7. Lightly grease a large lasagne dish.
    7. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain.
    8. Divide pasta between the cheese sauce and the lamb mixture; mix to combine. Pour the pasta with lamb into the prepared baking dish; spread the pasta with white sauce on top.
    9. Bake in the preheated oven until top is golden and pastitsio is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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