Pastitsio
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I adapted this recipe from Vilma Liacouras Chantiles’s The Food of Greece--it is the Greek version of lasagna. Her version uses a meat sauce (definitely not kosher). Ironically, I could never get Craig to touch Pastitsio until I modified it for the kosher kitchen and made it (gasp) vegetarian. During the first trimester of my pregnancy, though, I couldn’t stand the smell of meat, so we ate a lot of dairy. It may be a few more years yet before he’s back to liking any version of pastitsio, as this became our regular Shabbat dinner. 

The recipe is pretty complicated in that many disparate pieces must be made and assembled. I have found that if I make a big batch of the Saltsa Domata and freeze it in 8 c containers, the dish becomes a snap to prepare. You can assemble it the day before and bake it just before dinner. Or, you can bake it and freeze it to be reheated in the oven later. If you do this, the custard sauce on top gets a little wrinkly, but otherwise there is no discernible difference in taste.

  • 2 c bowtie pasta, cooked al dente

  • 3 c grated cheeses (I like to combine ricotta salata and parmesan, though mizithra can be used in place of the ricotta salata)

  • 6 T butter, melted

  • 5 eggs

  • 2 egg whites (reserve yolks for saltsa aspri) + one whole egg

  • 8 c saltsa domata

  • 6 c saltsa aspri

Combine the pasta, cheeses, butter and 5 beaten eggs. Combine the saltsa domata with the two whites and one whole egg. Spread half of the pasta mixture in the bottoms of two greased 9x13 baking dishes. Spread the saltsa domata on top of the pasta. Spread the remaining pasta on top of the saltsa domata. Spread the saltsa aspri on top of the last layer of pasta. Bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Yield 2 9x13 casseroles (serves about 10-12)

 

Saltsa Domata (~8c)

  • 2 onions, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed

  • 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced rather thickly

  • 12 oz. sliced mushrooms

  • 1 medium eggplant, in ½ inch cubes

  • 4 lbs. canned chopped tomatoes

  • 2 t sugar

  • ½ c red wine

  • salt and black pepper to taste

  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks

  • 1 t dried basil

Saute the onions in a little olive oil until soft. Add the other vegetables (except the tomatoes) and sauté for 5 minutes more. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the basil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the basil and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick.

 

Saltsa Aspri (6 c)

  • 12 T butter

  • 12 T flour

  • 6 c milk

  • 1 t cinnamon

  • ½ t nutmeg

  • 2 egg yolks

Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk rapidly until a smooth paste forms and begins to bubble. Add the milk. Continue to stir with a wire whisk until the mixture bubbles and thickens to the consistency of pudding. This can take 10 to 15 minutes or longer. Remove from heat. Add the spices and yolks. Whisk quickly to prevent the yolks from cooking.