When in Arizona in September, my husband and I went to the Greek Restaurant, Posiden. Had Pastitsio for the first time and it was awesome. Since I love to cook and love to try new recipes, I just had to make this for myself. I finally did it last night. It is a long process so make sure you have lots of time to get it together. I'm lucky to have a big kitchen to do this in. So first, get everything out so you have all the ingredients at your fingertips.
Notice I have to have my wine there too. First off, chop 3 medium yellow onions, 2 stalks celery, 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley and 2 cloves of garlic. Saute in 3 Tbsp olive oil for about 5 minutes and set aside.
Take 2 lbs ground beef and saute in 1 Tbsp olive oil and cook about 10 minutes. Add 1 15oz can of diced tomatoes, , 1 Tbsp of tomato paste, 1/2 cup red wine, 1 tsp allspice, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp cinnamon, dash of salt and ground black pepper. Simmer 40 minutes.
While that is cooking, take 1 lb of ziti and cook in a large pot with water and a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. Drain and set aside. Just when you have 8 minutes left on the meat mix, start the bechamel sauce. In one sauce pan, heat 4 cups of milk with 2 bay leaves and a 1/2 tsp of allspice berries. In another saucepan, melt 8 Tbsp (1 stick) of butter. Add 1 cup flour in the butter mix and whisk till thick. Slowly pour the milk into the flour butter mix (remove the bay leaves and berries) and whisk constantly until thick. Add 3 Tbsp Kefaloytri cheese or fresh shredded parmesan and a pinch of nutmeg. By now your meat sauce is also done simmering.
In a large bowl, take 1 cup of the bechamel sauce, 2 lightly beaten eggs and mix it with the ziti till it's coated.
In a 9x13 baking dish, spray the bottom and sides with Pam. I use butter flavor Pam to add to the taste. Be sure to do this as the noodles and meat will stick for sure if you don't. Layer 1/3 of the noodles, 1/2 the meat sauce, another 1/3 of the noodles, then the other half of the meat sauce. Top it with the final layer of noodles. Then cover it with the remaining 3 cups of bechamel sauce. Sprinkle the top lightly with 1/2 cup breadcrumbs and 3-4 Tbsp of Kefaloytri or parmesan.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let it set 10 minutes before serving. This yields 12 servings of deliciousness. I served it with a Greek salad and red wine.
I cheated with the salad. It's just 1 large cucumber, 3 roma tomatoes, 1/2 medium red onion, 2 Tbsp capers, whole olives tossed in Kraft greek dressing then I sprinkled it with regular feta although you can use tomato basil or garlic & herb.
Wonderful meal and my husband loved it. Except olives... he hates those. SALUT!