Wednesday, November 19, 2008
just a little something
This Greek dish had been on my to do -list for a long time. I had just been waiting for the right occasion to make it. Nothing big, maybe just several friends coming together around one big round table, some candles and bottles of wine on a warm night, with a guy playing the bouzouki on the background. No. Wait! that was too much. Let's go back to a few good friends. And the wine, maybe. This is still Germany and it is November.
Anyway, I had a picture of Pastitsio being something grandiose and complicated to make. I was wrong. This is how I see it:
1. Making the filling
2. Boiling the pasta
Then you just put it all together and shove it in the oven and everyone is impressed.Sometimes life can also be easy.
Pastitsio (for 4 to 5 friends)
olive oil for cooking
1 tablespoon parsley
1 clove of garlic
400 g mincemeat
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
50 ml white wine
200 g canned tomatoes
225 g Bucatini pasta (the long tubular pasta) or penne
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon dryed mint
60 g butter
60 g flour
500 ml warm milk
a hint of ground nutmeg
Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the diced onion until soft and golden. Add the parsley and the chopped garlic and cook for a while before adding in the mincemeat. Cook for a few minutes, until the liquid has faded and it starts to get colour. Season with salt and pepper and add the bay leaf and cinnamon.
When the meat is done and brown, pour in the wine and let it cook until the wine has faded.
Add in the canned tomatoes and a five tablespoons water and continue cooking on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatoes have become creamier. At this point the meat should not get dry, add water if this happens.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Heat oven to 180 °C (350 F). Meanwhile cook the pasta about two minutes less than directed on the package. Pour all of the water away and mix the butter and mint into the pasta. Then lay half of it into an oven dish (I used a 16cm x 25 cm dish), spread the sauce over it and put the rest of the pasta on top. Press with a spoon to make it compact.
Preparing the béchamel:
Melt the butter in a pan. Add the flour and cook for a few minutes constantly stirring. Then begin to add the warm milk, whisking as you pour it. Cook and stir until the sauce becomes thicker. Then add salt, pepper and nutmeg and continue cooking for a few minutes.
Pour it then all over the pasta and bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the surface gets golden brown.
Let it stand for 10 minutes before serving, so that the béchamel stiffens and doesn't spread when cutting pieces.
It's nice with a fresh green salad!
Source: Falling Cloudberries, Tessa Kiros