You read that right – Skillet Pastitsio! Let us assure you, while we all love and respect the traditional Greek staple that is “Pastitsio”, we don’t always have the time needed to make it. While we know we can’t top “giagia’s” (grandma’s) classic we try to capture its comfort. Those beautiful layers of bechamel, spiced meat sauce and thick pasta noodles with a creamy cheese topping are the warmest hug during the Fall and Winter seasons. We wanted to reimagine this dish so that it can be enjoyed in a fraction of the time but still retaining that quintessential flavour we all know and love.
Follow along for the new Pastitsio recipe we know you will be saving!
First, you will need a 3-quart ovenproof skillet with a lid. Get the olive oil into the skillet on a medium-high heat, add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Brown the ground beef for 6-8 minutes or until no longer pink and starting to brown. Add the diced onion, minced garlic, ground cinnamon, ground clove and cook together for another 5-7 minutes or until the onions have softened. Add in the tomato paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes making sure to stir it in well so it doesn’t settle in one spot. Add the chicken stook and bring to a boil.
Add the Ditalini pasta, stir to combine and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and allow to cook until the pasta is cooked ‘al dente’, approximately 12-15 minutes, giving it a stir every 2-3 minutes or so to avoid sticking.
While the pasta is cooking, preheat the broiler to high and prepare the bechamel sauce. The base to any good bechamel sauce is a roux, butter and flour cooked together to create the ultimate thickener. Ensure you have your warm milk ready to go. Place a medium saucepan on medium heat and melt the butter. Add in the flour and cook together forming the roux by stirring constantly until a smooth paste forms. Slowly begin adding the warm milk in a few splashes at a time and stir between each addition until smooth to avoid clumping. Once all the milk has been added in, add in half of the grated Kefalotiri, and stir to combine. Remove from the heat, add salt, pepper, and stir in the egg yolk, which creates the creamiest consistency.
Seasoning each layer is key to marrying everything together! Once your pasta is cooked through season with salt, pepper, and half of the chopped parsley. Evenly pour or ladle the bechamel over top of the pasta and meat mixture and evenly sprinkle the remaining Kefalotiri over top. Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes watching closely until the cheese forms a golden brown and bubbly layer on top.
Sprinkle remaining parsley and serve.
A nod to the classic Pastitsio ready in a fraction of the time but prepared with the same amount love.
Click here to discover the recipe.