PASTITSIO (GREEK LASAGNA)

This is truly a unique dinner recipe that is very different than traditional lasagna!

PASTITSIO (GREEK LASAGNA)

INGREDIENTS
BECHAMEL SAUCE:
  1. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 1 quart whole milk, warmed until hot
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  5. 3 large eggs

MAIN DISH:
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 2 medium onions, chopped
  3. 2 pounds 90% lean ground beef
  4. 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. salt and pepper, to taste
  6. 1/2 cup water
  7. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  8. 1 pound ziti pasta
  9. 3 large eggs, beaten
  10. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  11. 12 to 16 ounces Kasseri or Kefalotiri cheese, grated (see notes below)

INSTRUCTIONS
PREPARE THE BECHAMEL SAUCE:
  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour and then gradually whisk in the hot milk. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Stir in the salt, remove from heat and let cool. When the sauce is lukewarm, whisk in the eggs. Set aside.
PREPARE THE MEAT LAYER:
  • Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add the onions and saute until softened and golden. Crumble the beef into the skillet and cook with the onions until the beef is browned. Stir in the cinnamon, salt and pepper. Stir in the water and tomato paste, and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside.
PREPARE THE PASTA LAYER:
  • Cook ziti according to directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cool water. When pasta has cooled down, stir in the beaten eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.