I first fell in love with Pastitsio whilst on holidays in Greece – what feels like a million years ago! A dish made up of ground meat, cooked pasta and a cheesy béchamel sauce; it’s the Greek equivalent to the Italian’s favourite dish – lasagna. And talk about a crowd pleaser. Comforting and delicious, team it up with a big fresh salad and some crusty bread for a real feast.
Nee’s version of Pastitsio is so easy to make and can feed a small army. My girls love going to visit Nee and Pop’s house – I don’t think there’ve been many trips to Boorowa where there wasn’t a freshly made spaghetti slice waiting for us to devour.
I have many fond memories of coming home from the pub on a freezing cold winter’s night to a midnight meal of Nee’s leftover spaghetti slice on toast. Who needs a late night kebab shop or 24 hour Macca’s nearby when this is waiting at home for you in the fridge. Perfect for soaking up the alcohol (on the rare occasion we have a night out on the town, kid free) that is.
Replace the spaghetti with penne or rigatoni (my personal favourite) and make it ahead of time if you have guests coming to stay. It’ll keep well in the fridge for a couple of days or can be frozen to whip out on busy weeknights when you’ve got no time (or energy) to cook.
It’s just as good as the one I remember eating in that seaside taverna in Santorini. All that’s missing is a Greek salad and a shot or two of Oyzo.
nee’s spaghetti slice | greek pastitsio
for the mince sauce
1 x large brown onion, finely chopped
3 x garlic cloves, crushed
750 grams of beef mince
2 x carrots, peeled and grated
1 x 50 gram sachet of tomato paste
2 x 400 gram tins of crushed tomatoes
1 x teaspoon of sugar
A good splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 x beef stock cube, crumbled
1 x empty tomato tin full of water (plus more water to add as the sauce cooks)
2 x dried bay leaves
A sprinkling of dried oregano
A glug of olive oil
A very good seasoning of salt and freshly cracked pepper
for the white sauce
50 grams of butter
2 x heaped tablespoons of plain flour
2 1/2 cups of milk
A light sprinkling of ground nutmeg
A light sprinkling of dried parsley
Salt and white pepper
1/2 cup of grated tasty cheese
400 grams of dried spaghetti
1 x cup of grated tasty cheese
- First things first – get cracking on the mince sauce.
- In a large fry pan – add a glug of olive oil and add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring until softened.
- Add the mince and cook until it’s browned all over. Season with a good amount of salt and pepper here.
- Add the carrots, tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, stock cube, water, bay leaves and oregano and simmer for at least 20 – 30 minutes (or longer if you have the time). Stir occasionally, adding extra water so that it doesn’t dry out.
- Now to make the white sauce – in a medium saucepan on a low-med heat, add the butter and let it melt. Add the flour and using a whisk, stir until the flour has been cooked off and you’ve formed a roux.
- Gradually add the milk whilst continuing to whisk; the sauce will start to thicken until you have a nice white sauce.
- Season with salt, white pepper and a light sprinkling of nutmeg and dried parsley.
- Stir through 1/2 cup of grated cheese and set aside.
- Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente. (Do not overcook).
- Discard the bay leaves from the meat sauce.
- In a large lasagna dish simply layer the meat sauce, spaghetti and white sauce until you’ve used it all up. (NB: Don’t worry about being too precise here but do try and make it so that the majority of the white sauce is on top).
- Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and bake in a moderate oven for about 20 -30 minutes or until it’s nice and golden brown.
Serve with a fresh salad.
- You can use any type of pasta that you like here. Replace the spaghetti with penne, rigatoni or macaroni instead.
- This freezes really well too. Make a big batch and freeze in individual portions for an easy midweek meal.
- Alternatively, you can use half beef and half pork mince.
- You can also add a light sprinkling of ground cinnamon to the beef sauce if you like.
- Use fresh parsley or basil too in the meat sauce, if you happen to have it.
If you make this spaghetti slice please leave your comments below. xx