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Pastitsio takes its name from the Italian pasticcio, also known as “Lasagna al Forno” in some regions of Italy.   In Cyprus we call pastitsio «Makaronia tou Fournou» which again means «Baked Pasta» which is the same as«Lasagna at Forno».   Lasagna al Forno is made with a flat noodle or sheet pasta called “lasagna”  instead of a tubular pasta.   Lasagna al Forno / pasticcio is a baked pasta dish with many variations, usually containing no meat, just vegetables and a dough crust, some of which include ragù with a custard or Béchamel topping, still some with no Béchamel and Riccotta cheese instead and typically contain more tomato or tomato sauce than Greek Pastitsio variations.

Although lasagna is generally believed to have originated in Italy, the word “lasagna” is derived from the Greek word λάσανα (lasana) or λάσανον (lasanon) meaning “trivet or stand for a pot”, “chamber pot. The Romans later borrowed the word as “lasanum”, in Latin, to mean cooking pot. The Italians then used the word to refer to the dish in which lasagna is made. It wasn’t long before the name of the food took on the name of the serving dish.

Another theory suggests that lasagna might have come from Greek λάγανον (laganon), a kind of flat sheet of pasta dough cut into stripes.

So, which came first the chicken or the egg?  This question has been puzzling mankind for millenia and still needs to be answered and I suppose the same applies to Who made Lasagna or Pastitsio first.

I love both dishes and I am sure that most of you love both.   Because of all these theories, I decided to combine both recipes and make the Pastitsio Lasagna recipe,  which would please both Greeks and Italians.

I am sending this recipe to Tony Tahhan who is hosting the event A Taste of the Mediterranean, sponsored by igourmet and Peter, of Kalofagas is cohosting this event.

Pastitsio Lasagna 

Serves:6 – 7

Preparation time:30 minutes

Baking time:1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 18 lasagna noodles, which do not required to be cooked
  • 250 grams ground pork
  • 250 grams ground veal
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • ½ cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of celery, finely chopped
  • 500 grams (1 can of whole tomatoes) blended
  • 320 grams of anthotyro cheese
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt
  • black pepper
  • ½ cup of red dry wine
  • 1 cup of water

Directions

In a sauce pan add the olive oil on the heat and sauté the onion and garlic.  Add the ground meat and sauté for a few minutes, then add the grated carrots, pepper and celery and sauté as well.  Add the wine and stir for a couple of minutes until the alcohol evaporates.  Add the seasoning and herbs and finally the tomato and 1 cup of water and simmer until there is only a little bit of sauce left.  Remove from the heat and mix in the parsley.  (I always mix in the parsley last as it retains all its aroma).

While the meat sauce is simmering, prepare the béchamel sauce.

For the béchamel sauce

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil (I prefer using olive oil as it makes it healthier)
  • 6 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 litre milk (I used low fat milk)
  • 2 eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg

Also

  • 150 grams of grated graviera
  • a pinch of cinnamon to sprinkle on top

Directions

Pre-heat milk.

In a saucepan heat the olive oil making sure it does not burn. Add flour and mix thoroughly, add salt and nutmeg.

Add the warm milk, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick and creamy. If it becomes too thick add some more cold milk and mix.

Beat the eggs  and add gradually, a little at a time slowly, but stirring constantly until it is absorbed. Add a couple of tablespoons of grated graviera and stir.

Putting the dish together:

In an oven proof glass baking tin, spread a few tablespoons of  béchamel sauce and place a layer of 6 lasagna.  Add half of the meat sauce, thin slices of anthotyro and half graviera.  Add another layer of 6 lasagna, a few tablespoons of béchamel and repeat adding the ground meat, anthotyro and graviera. Finally add the third layer of lasagna and the remaining béchamel sauce on top.

I sprinkled just a little bit of cinnamon on top, the way we make makaronia tou fournou in Cyprus and baked in a preheated oven at 180C for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the top becomes golden brown.

Allow to cool before serving.

If you liked this recipe, you might also like:

Moussakas

Chicken Pie

Lasagna with ground meat and bechamel

Pastitsio the Greek way

Makaronia tou Fournou (Pastitsio made in Cyprus)

Cannellonia with crepes

Lasagna with Ground Turkey and Vegetables

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Χωρίς σχόλια on Pastitsio Lasagna: Which came first the chicken or the egg?

  1. Ο/Η Peter G λέει:

    And what a perfect compromise Ivy! It looks divine!

  2. Ο/Η Peter λέει:

    Great background on lasagna and pastitsio….some food for thought!

    A welcome a refreshing version to pastitsio…we all love the classic but sometimes our fickle tastes desire something different.

    Thanks for the entry, I’m hungry!

  3. Ο/Η Joan Nova λέει:

    Being half-Italian and using a lot of tomato and pesto sauces, I forget how delicious a pasta dish can be with a white sauce. This looks wonderful and I love the last-minute sprinkle of cinnamon on top. Also enjoyed chicken-egg lesson.

  4. Ο/Η Rosa λέει:

    A great idea! This dish really makes me hungry!

    Cheers and have a gorgeous weekend,

    Rosa

  5. Ο/Η Navita λέει:

    Ivy I love lasagne…you have no idea how much i love this dish…only thing I cannot eat it often outside as I don’t like pork…only chicken or lamb meat will do.

    great click as usual :)

  6. Ο/Η Arlette λέει:

    Hello again

    nice Lasagna or Maacaroneh bil forn as we say in Arabic.
    I guarantee that my mom will love your lasagna , the red
    sauce bothers her so she avoid it.
    thanks

  7. Ο/Η Bellini Valli λέει:

    I love your creative spin on both the Italian & Greek versions Sis. I would love to have a huge piece of this with some of the salad of the other day. Anthotyro cheese is new to me and I don’t think available here, so I will just have to head to Greece:D

  8. Ο/Η Mike λέει:

    I was at a loss for what to make this weekend. Not any more–this looks delicious!

  9. Ο/Η Anamika: The Sugarcrafter λέει:

    Hi ivy
    wow, what a history..loved the deatils and also the combo that you’ve tried…quite an innovative idea…well done

  10. Ο/Η Reeni λέει:

    This is one of my favorite meals!! It looks so delicious!!

  11. Ο/Η maria λέει:

    Hi Ivy,

    First time here… you have a wonderful blog!! I read in your profile that you were born in Limassol. I visited Limassol last October with my husband and we loved the place absolutely!!

    Happy to meet you here, will drop in frequently :)

    Cheers
    Maria

  12. Ο/Η Sylvia λέει:

    Love lasagna , and yours looks absolutely delicious.
    Well done

  13. Ο/Η Cakelaw λέει:

    LOL – gotta love your diplomacy. This looks great – I am a fan of lasagne, just not how long it takes to make.

  14. Ο/Η elly λέει:

    A great combo of 2 classic dishes, Ivy. This looks SO good. I’m still not pastitsio’d out ;)

  15. Ο/Η Cynthia λέει:

    You all are really tempting me with this dish. First it was Sam, then Peter, then Valli and now you! What is a girl to do? :)

  16. Ο/Η Dee λέει:

    Fascinating! I feel all that more accomplished knowing that I have been cooking Greek food (even if it was unintentional) ;) Always a pleasure to read your posts, Ivy!

  17. Ο/Η courtney λέει:

    This looks delightful Ivy. So comforting and tasty.

  18. Ο/Η Maria λέει:

    Ivy, now your definitely talking my language!! I adore pasta and Pastitsio Lasagna is right up there in my list of favorite foods. Your Pastitsio looks like heaven on a plate, delicioso!!

    Maria
    x

  19. Ο/Η Poornima λέει:

    Hey Ivy….that lasagna looks mouthwatering…my fav pasta dish.

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