Pastitsio is the Greek version of what is known in Italian cuisine as a pasticcio. Usually composed of meat, pasta and vegetables, and baked, pie-like, in layers, the principal difference between the two is that the Greek version calls for lamb, and often includes yogurt and olives. This culture-crossing vegetarian version uses grilled eggplant and is topped with a bechamel sauce.
4 tbsp. butter
1⁄4 cup flour
3 cups milk, scalded
2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
Dash ground nutmeg
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
3-4 cups canned plum tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. dried oregano
1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb. penne pasta, cooked al dente
1 med. eggplant, sliced and grilled
- Prepare Bechamel: Melt butter in saucepan. Over low heat, whisk in flour; cook 3 min. Whisk in milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 min.
- In bowl, beat eggs. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of bechamel; whisk egg mixture back into remaining sauce in saucepan until thickened. Whisk in 1 oz. Parmesan and nutmeg; remove from heat and keep warm.
- Prepare Tomato Sauce: In deep skillet, seat onion and garlic in olive oil. Stir in tomatoes, paste, oregano, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Cook over med. heat until thickened.
- In buttered baking dish, spread half the pasta; top with half the eggplant and half the tomato mixture. Repeat layers. Pour bechamel sauce over pasta layers; sprinkle remaining Parmesan on top.
- Bake in 400°F. oven 40 min. or until set.