Pastitsio defies description. Oh, the splendor! Oh, the thrill of mouth-watering blends of meat, cheese, pasta, and cream sauce! Pastitsio, pronounced as pa-STEE-tsee-oh, is a baked pasta casserole commonly cooked in the finest of Greek restaurant kitchens and is absolutely Greek-tastic!
The forewarning is in the name. The word pastitsio derives from the Italian pasticcio, which loosely translates to a mess or a hodgepodge. Cooking this dish is quite a production and leaves the kitchen looking like a disaster zone. For this reason, I am enlisting Mum for help. Between the two of us, this yummy dish should be doable.
I found this recipe in Weight Watchers Take-Out Tonight! Every recipe in this book has a Points value of 8 or less. Pretty impressive. Round up your helpers and let's cook lightly!
Per serving (1 cup) 319 calories, 11 grams fat, 3 grams fiber. Points value is 7.
- 3 cups reduced-fat (2%) milk
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 8 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 pound spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3/4 pound lean ground sirloin (10% or less fat)
- 1 pound plum tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1) First, preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 7 X 11-inch baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
2) To make the white sauce, combine the milk, cornstarch, and eggs in a large saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, 7-9 minutes.
5) To make the filling, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl in the oil, then add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 4-6 minutes.
7) Arrange half of the cooked spaghetti in an even layer on the bottom of the baking pan. Top with the filling, then top with the remaining spaghetti. Spread the white sauce evenly over the spaghetti. Sprinkle sauce with the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese.
If you are like me, and have grown up eating Italian pasta dishes, the first bite is quite a surprise. Pastitsio is nothing and everything that you would expect. Thick luscious layers of meat, pasta, and cream sauce will have you going back for more...and more...and more. Grossly overindulging is a distinct possibility with this dish. Weight Watchers--tone down the flavor! It is just too good!