What is Pastichio?
Pastichio or in Greek “παστίτσιο” is the Greek version of lasagna that has a top layer of béchamel sauce. A dish that is often served at family gatherings and during special occasions is one of the more popular dishes. You can find this served in most Greek establishments and is a favorite in Greek cuisine.
History of Pastichio
The most popular version of Pastichio is from the famous French-trained chef, Nikolaos Tselementes. The original pastichio was made from a filling of pasta, meat, cheese, eggs and was wrapped in phyllo dough. It was chef Tselementes who changed the dish. He is the one who layered the bottom layer with pasta, with cheese or egg being the binder. In the middle, he added a layer of ground beef with tomato sauce adding a touch of cinnamon and cloves. Lastly, he added a béchamel sauce on top adding a little nutmeg and some sprinkles of freshly grated cheese or mizithra (a Greek whey cheese made from sheep or goat’s milk).
The chef Tselementes version is the more popular version and is common amongst Greek households. It is often served as the main dish and served with a green salad made of lettuce, scallions, dill, mint in a vinaigrette [olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salts, and oregano] dressing. You can also serve it with a Greek salad.
What is the difference between lasagna and pastichio?
So what is the difference between them? The main difference is the type of pasta in the dish. Lasagna contains flat noodle sheets while pastichio contains long noodles of pasta. The next major difference is that pastichio contains a bechamel sauce which Chef Niko says is the #1 french mother sauce. The bechamel gives the dish a much richer and creamier consistency as opposed to the tomato sauce that lasagna contains. Either way, both dishes are excellent and should be in your arsenal of dishes to wow your guests.
- (Help support our site!)Food Processor
- (Help support our site!)Can Opener
- (Help support our site!)Hand Mixer
- (Help support our site!)Stock Pot
- (Help support our site!)Sauce Pot
- (Help support our site!)Whisk
- (Help support our site!)Mixing Bowl
- (Help support our site!)Chefs Knife
- (Help support our site!)Wooden Spoon
- ½ Hotel Pan
- (Help support our site!)Mixing Bowl
- 1 ½ lb(s) Ground Beef
- 1 pk(s) Pasta Bucatini Greek Brand Misko #2 Greek Macaroni Pastitsio Pasta Noodles (preferred)
- 2 whole Carrot Peeled rough chop
- 2 whole Onions Cleaned rough chop
- 4 stalk(s) Celery Rough chop
- 2 tbsp(s) Garlic Confit See How to Recipe
- 1 bunch(s) Parsley Thinly Sliced
- 28 ounce(s) Tomato Sauce
- 1 To Taste Salt & Pepper
- 1 tsp(s) Ground Nutmeg
- 1 tsp(s) Ground Cloves
- 2 tsp(s) Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ cup(s) Grated Cheese
- 2 quart(s) Heavy Cream
- 1 lb(s) Butter
- 1 lb(s) Flour All Purpose
- 2 whole Eggs
- Gather, wash, unwrap all ingredients and let's bring it to the board.
- Begin by rough chopping onions, carrots and celery.
- Place into the food processor and grind down very fine and set aside.
- Heat the skillet and add a touch of oil and begin to brown ground beef.
- Once the beef has been browned, add salt & pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and garlic confit stir well to incorporate all seasonings.
- Add the mirepoix to the mixture and mix together and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce, mix well and continue cooking.
- Once the sauce is well mended and cooked, turn off the flame and set aside.
- Heat a pot of water and add salt. When the water boils, add your pasta.
- You want to make sure you under cook pasta to al'dente. *Quick tip:You want to make sure to under cook pasta because it will absorb the sauce liquid and continue to cook when you bake your pastichio. This will ensure your dish will not be oily due the absorption from pasta.
- In a mixing bowl, add about half of the ground beef sauce into the bowl.
- Strain the pasta well and add to mixing bowl.
- Then pour ½ the remaining sauce on top of pasta and mix well.
- Once pasta has been mixed, pour some sauce on bottom of pan and begin to place mixture in ½ hotel pan. Set Aside*Quick Tip:Fill pan only about halfway, pack it down with rubber spatula leaving room for Béchamel sauce.
- Make Béchamel sauce. See Recipe.
- Once béchamel is ready, pour on top of the pasta mixture and fill hotel pan almost to the top on pan.
- Once filled with béchamel sprinkle some grated cheese onto of béchamel.
- Place in a 350° degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Once its golden brown crust pull from oven and let it rest.
- Cut out and serve after 5 minutes on rest time.