Greek Baked Lasagna

How to make a Greek Baked Lasagna.

INGREDIENTS: Serves 4-6

  • 3 cups ziti, cooked
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 12 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons organic honey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves, rounded
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, divided in half
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • salt
  • black pepper

METHOD:

  1. Prepare a medium-sized baking dish by drizzling 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on the bottom and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  3. Fill a large pot ¾ of the way with water and a pinch of salt.
  4. Bring to a boil.
  5. Once boiling, cook the ziti to “al dente” according to instructions on the package.
  6. When the ziti is cooked to “al dente,” strain and transfer to a baking dish.
  7. Keep the strainer aside to use for later.
  8. Drizzle the ziti with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.
  9. Toss to combine.
  10. Layer the ziti in the bottom of the dish so that there are no spaces and then set aside.
  11. Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the oil is shimmering, but not smoking.
  12. Add the onion and sauteé for 3 minutes.
  13. Add garlic and sauteé for 1 minute.
  14. Add ground lamb in crumbles and season with a little salt and pepper.
  15. Stirring regularly, cook lamb for about 10 minutes until fully browned.
  16. When the lamb is ready, strain excess fat from the meat and return to the stove.
  17. Keep heat at medium and add red wine, passata, chopped fresh oregano, allspice, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, cinnamon and honey to the skillet with the lamb mixture.
  18. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
  19. Once boiling, turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  20. While the meat sauce is simmering, heat 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan until shimmering, but not smoking.
  21. Stir in the flour and a little salt and pepper.
  22. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat milk until lukewarm.
  23. Remove the milk from the heat once warm.
  24. This step makes the béchamel sauce.
  25. Cook flour mixture in a large saucepan until golden and covered in olive oil.
  26. Slowly add milk into the saucepan with flour, whisking continuously.
  27. Cook over medium heat for 7 minutes whilst continuing to whisk periodically as the mixture combines and thickens.
  28. Once the mixture is thick, add other ½ teaspoon of nutmeg and pinch of salt and pepper.
  29. Taste the meat sauce and adjust the salt and pepper to your preference.
  30. Keep on the stove at a very low setting until ready to use.
  31. Whisk 4 spoonfuls of béchamel sauce with eggs in a small bowl.
  32. Pour the mixture into a saucepan with the rest of béchamel sauce as you whisk.
  33. Whilst whisking continuously, bring to a boil.
  34. Let it boil for 2 minutes.
  35. Ensure there are no remaining chunks in the sauce.
  36. Remove from the heat and allow to cool and thicken.
  37. Once finished, the béchamel sauce should be thick and creamy, but also smooth with no chunks.
  38. Add the meat sauce on top of the ziti in the baking dish and even out with a wooden spoon.
  39. Ensure the sauce completely covers the ziti in the dish.
  40. Top the meat sauce with béchamel with a spatula.
  41. Smooth the béchamel out on top with the spatula and ensure it’s evenly distributed.
  42. Place the dish in the pre-heated oven.
  43. Bake for 1 hour until the top is golden brown.
  44. When the pastitsio (Greek Baked Lasagna) is finished, remove from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  45. Once ready, cut in squares and serve with your favourite side dish.
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