Pastitsio, sometimes spelt pastichio (or pasticcio in Italian), is a Greek and Mediterranean baked pasta dish, made with ground beef and béchamel sauce, with layers of pasta sandwiching the sauce. I have perfected the typical Greek flavour, with cinnamon, nutmeg & clove – and I defy anyone to spot that this is vegan in a blind tasting !
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE
6 fresh plum tomatoes, processed in a food processor
1 large white onion, finely chopped
4 to 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp tomato puree/paste
1½ tsp dried oregano
1 cinnamon stick
salt to taste (don’t omit this – it’s not a dessert)
2 tsp molasses or dark brown sugar
¾ cup (180 mL) hot water
a pinch of clove powder (don’t omit)
INGREDIENTS FOR BÉCHAMEL
100g (3½ oz) margarine or any other vegan option
1 cup plain flour
2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 cups vegan cheese of your choice, grated
700ml (24 fl oz) plain unsweetened soya milk (I use Alpro)
500g (17½ oz) medium hollow macaroni (I used Maglie di Zito rigate)
- First boil the pasta according to packet instructions. Then drain, rinse well in cold water, and set aside.
For The Red Sauce
- Gently heat up your oil in a large non-stick pan, and fry your onion, mixing frequently. Add your garlic after a few minutes, and continue mixing. Lower the heat, and allow to cook for a further minute or so.
- Next, add the tomato paste, continue mixing, and then add your vegan ground mince, together with the spices, herbs, salt and pepper. Allow to cook for 5 minutes or so, until the aroma from the mix begins to emerge.
- Now gently add the tomato pulp, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, adding a little water at a time as it thickens. Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and cook for a further 25 minutes, stirring intermittently so that it won’t stick.
- Taste for salt, then leave the sauce on minimum for a further 10 minutes, whilst you make your béchamel sauce.
For The Béchamel Sauce
- First gently heat the margarine until it melts in a small heavy bottomed pan.
- Meanwhile, get the remaining ingredients (except for the grated cheese) and blend in your food processor.
- Gently pour into the buttered heated pan, mixing constantly until the white sauce begins to thicken. Then add the grated cheese, and continue to mix for a minute. Remove from heat once it has thickened. The trick with this sauce is to mix all the time and taste it for salt.
Assembling For Baking
- First mix in one ladle of the béchamel sauce to half of the pasta, then place this in a greased ovenproof dish, evening it out once you have done so.
- Next, gently spoon the ground mince sauce evenly over the pasta.
- Now add the remaining pasta evenly, and then pour the remaining white béchamel sauce on top.
- Place in a hot 400ºF (200ºC) oven for 45 minutes, until it has gone golden on top. Then drizzle on a little olive oil. Allow to stand for 15 minutes before serving.
- Serve with a Greek salad, with black olives, and Enjoy !
All recipes and content © Miriam Sorrell www.mouthwateringvegan.com 2010