Thursday, July 19, 2012

the wooden spoon: pastitsio

pastitsio. yum! ever heard of it though? until i had decided to crack open one of my old cookbooks (passed down from my mom), i hadn't either. it's basically a greek version of lasagna which crazy enough when finished, looks like hamburger helper - weird! so without further a-do...

here's what you'll need:
a cast-iron skillet or dutch oven
1 lb of ground beef or lamb (i used beef since it was cheaper than lamb)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
6 medium-sized cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
3 cups of chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1, 8oz package of elbow macaroni
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
1 cup of pecorino romano cheese (i used parmesan since i didn't have any pecorino on hand)

first heat your cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat until warmed up; then add in your ground meat and cook throughly until nice and brown.

once browned, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the meat and set aside for later use. do not discard the juice left behind! (preheat your oven to 475 degree)

now add in the onions, cinnamon, nutmeg and cook until well-mixed and tender, about 5-7 minutes.

once tender, add in the garlic, oregano and tomato paste until fragrant, about a minute.

quickly add in your chicken broth, 1/2 cup of cream, cooked meat, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the uncooked macaroni noodles and cook until simmering. pasta should be nice and tender at about the 10+ minutes...make sure at this step to stir constantly or you will have stuck/uncooked noodles!

stir together in a small measuring cup your 1/2 cup of cream remaining and cornstarch until completely mixed through. quickly add this to your mixture and stir throughly.

now take your skillet off comes the best part!

sprinkle the cheese on top of your skillet mixture so you get a yummy layer of deliciousness and place in the oven for about 5-10 minutes or until the top is light brown.

take out of the oven, let it cool for a few minutes, serve up and enjoy!

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