As I passed two years here a few weeks ago I was looking through previous posts. I was reminded of a fun day trip I took with a friend to the Savannah Greek Festival. I had some amazing cookies and goodies, but also a delicious pastitsio. Since it isn't that hard to make, and I can't get to Savannah, I'm making my own. Also, don't you just love the distinct layers? I love them.

Manchego cheese is my favorite hard cheese and easier to find where I am, so that's what I used here, but peccorino is more authentic.

Pasta Layer
12 oz. elbow pasta
4 oz. feta cheese
2 eggs

1 lb. ground beef
olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can tomato paste
2 cans whole tomatoes
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 allspice berries
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp. salt

3 Tbsp butter
1/2 c. flour
3 c. milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 egg
dash nutmeg
1/4 tsp white or black pepper
1 tsp. salt
4 oz. grated manchego cheese

Start with the sauce since it has to cook the longest. Saute the onion in a generous amount of olive oil until starting to cook. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and the ground beef. Cook, breaking up as it goes, until no longer pink. Add the canned tomatoes, crushing them in your hands as you add them. Add the vinegar and simmer over high heat for a little over 5 minutes. Then reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining sauce ingredients. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

When the sauce is almost done, boil the pasta until al dente. Crush the feta and then mix with the eggs. Stir in the slightly cooled pasta and spread in the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Top with the sauce and press it down and smooth it out. You want to slightly work it in to the nooks and cranys of the pasta but not mixed it in. 

In yet another pot, I used the one the pasta had just vacated, melt the butter. Then add the flour and cook, stirring, for about 2 - 3 minutes. Warm the milk, and stir it in to the roux, whisking, to avoid lumps. And the cream, heat it with the milk. Or stir it in once the milk is already added. Keep stirring until thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the the seasonings and the cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes to really melt the cheese and then stir again. Then stir in the egg, and keep whisking so the egg doesn't cook. 

Spread the white sauce over the meat layer. Sprinkle with some additional cheese if you want. It gives it a pretty golden look, but I forgot. Bake at 400 until the top is golden or slightly browned. 

Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


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