Sunday, March 10, 2013

Didi's Pastichio

It's always great when you try a new recipe from an exotic country like Greece. It's even better when when you've got a real live cooking muse that's actually from that country and she takes the time to make a video to show you how to do everything correctly. My friend Didi has been sharing many of her homeland recipes and this one said to me, "Make me. Make me. Make me NOW!" And so I did. Didi's original recipe is on her blog, Dishin With Didi and it's informative and fun to watch. I actually followed her advice almost to a tee, until I got to the bechemel. I'm sure, no I'm positive hers is authentic and more decadent, but with me still fighting a virus, it was getting too late for me to be whisking and stirring, so I took an easier route that might work for some. Last night it worked for me, like a charm. Also, Didi has a big family and I don't, so I cut her recipe in half. I ended up with 6 huge wedges of pastichio that are going to be enjoyed by me (and maybe a friend or two if I feel like sharing) all week. Ready to get in on the action? Let's go!

Didi's Pastichio
serves 6

1 lb ground beef
1 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 large/medium onion
1 tsp tomato paste- use it from the tube, it's very cost effective in recipes like these
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon- the cinnamon I have is from Saigon and is very strong. If you have something a little lighter, add another 1/4 tsp
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Faux Bechamel
Here is where I veered off the Didi track and took a page from the South Beach Diet Book. For the real thing, see what Ms Dilaba has to offer.
1/2 cup fat free half and half
2 large eggs
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper if desired

1/2 pound penne pasta- by now you know I use Dreamfields low carb, and it worked out great. Didi used long macaroni that I couldn't find in my market
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese

1 T grated Romano cheese

In large sauce pan add enough water to cook the penne. When water boils, add salt and then pasta. Stir and cook the penne for about 8 minutes. So while this is cooking, let's get started on the meat sauce. In large sauce pan add ground beef and onions and cook until beef is browned and onions softened.

Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and cinnamon.

Combine, cover and simmer (low) for 20 minutes. Let's get back to the penne. After eight minutes, drain the pasta and run under cool water. At this point I was supposed to sprinkle them with the cheese. Oops, I forgot, so I did my sprinkling after each layer was placed in the baking dish.

Spray an 8 inch by 8 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray and begin layering your penne in one direction into the bottom.

Sprinkle with cheese.

I ended up getting 3 layers of penne and cheese. Now add the aromatic beef mixture directly over the noodles. I saved a bit of the sauce because I knew I'd be reheating this during the week and wanted a little somethin, somethin in case the dish needed more moisture. At this point your're ready to make the faux bechemel sauce and pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. I would love to have shown you a picture of the tasty sauce atop the noodles, but I was seriously in cooking mode and forgot to take one.

On to the Faux Bechemel. In medium size bowl whisk together all the ingredients and when well combined, pour over the top of your Pastichio.

Add remainder of cheese (or a little more if you're feeling decadent). Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove and let rest for about 15-20 minutes. Cut into large squares, top with more cheese if desired and enjoy!

Thanks Didi, you really rocked it this time. Not only a delicious meal, but a work of art as well. Love ya!


Didi Dalaba said...

Linda dolly, that looks absolutely amazing!! The faux bechamel doesn't rise as much as the regular bechamel obviously, but from the ingredients, the taste was the same. YES!!

I love that fact that you honored my heritage by lining the noodles! ♥ Was it my vent ya think?

Love you doll!! ♥

KimH said...

Very awesome! Looks wonderful!

Linda said...

Yes doll, it was your vent. But just look at how beautiful the final product is. And instead of singing when I was aligning, I put on Dean Martin and listened to him sing to me. The faux bechemel was okay, but I wanted any other readers to see what you did, the real McCoy. Your recipes are fab and I can't wait to try the gyros. That could be next. xxoo

Kathy Sterling said...

This sounds delicious and the ingredients are everything our family likes. But to top it off, it is so pretty! Great dish for guests and party's

Thanks for another great recipe and congratulations to Didi and Linda for sharing it with the world.

Linda said...

Kathy, thanks for stopping by. Don't you just love this sharing thing we've got going on? I think in the last year I have mostly posted recipes that have been inspired by others. I just love it! And Didi's dishes are always made with love, that's why they're so good.

Melissa said...

What a great post Linda! Perfect little rows of pasta, you and Didi rock!

Linda said...

Melissa- assembling those little rows of pasta was very therapeutic. If you have the time, give it a try. Cooking is therapy I guess, who knew? Thanks for reading sweet lady!