Daily life on a greek island through the eyes of a local-alien, still 'foreign' even after more than 40 years residence. This 'foreigner' is a local-KIWI-alien so there is a New Zealand flavour to my writing. Photo above is the tranquil view from Pukehina Beach, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.
Pastitcio - macaroni casserole with minced meat and bechamel sauce This is a favourite in the summertime. Why summer I do not know. It is not a particularly light or aery summer meal. The name is from the Italian so I presume they have a similar dish over there.
It is made from large tubular spaghetti, called macaroni here. We buy our spaghetti according to the number.
No 6 is what we would normally use for spaghetti bolognaise, or spaghetti served with a tomato sauce or burnt oil.
No. 10 is very fine
No 2 is the fat hollow kind we use for pastitcio, a sort of pasta drinking straw. I see this has 'ziti' written on the packet. Is that the type of spaghetti?
There are three parts to this recipe, plus the putting together and the baking. It is easy but you end up with a lot of pot washing.
Boil some thick macaroni. A little goes a long way. Don't use a half kilo packet unless you have an army of hungry teenagers to feed and a huge baking dish. Grate a pile of cheese
Make a bolognaise sauce with -
minced beef (half a kilo)
one chopped onion
a tin of crushed tomatoes
a stick of cinnamon
salt and pepper
half a teaspoon of grated nutmeg
- saute onions, garlic and meat. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 40 minutes. It needs to have a little sauce so don't let it dry out too much
make a bechamel sauce, lots of it but not too thick.
That is a white sauce with a little cheese.
Melt 1/2 a cup of butter (I use half butter and half olive oil)
Take off the heat and stir in 2/3 cup of flour.
With a whisk add about 4 cups of milk, stirring all the time so you don't get lumps. Put it back on the heat and keep stirring. When it starts to thicken it is ready. Stir in salt and I add a good dollop of mustard
Put it all together
Lay the spaghetti/macaroni at the bottom of a deep baking dish. Don't overdo the pasta. Leave plenty of room for the meat sauce and the white sauce on top. Mix in lots of grated cheese. Leave a little to put on top
Cover the fat spaghetti with the bolognaise sauce
Top with the white/cheese/bechamel sauce (whatever you call it)
Sprinkle fine bread crumbs over the top and more grated cheese
Bake about half an hour till the top is brown and bubbly. Wait for it to cool before cutting it into pieces or it will slop all over the plate. Quite frankly I think 'sloppy' is the best way to eat it but if you want it to 'look nice' on the plate then Wait.
Even tastier the next day
Quite often at the feast after a wedding or baptism you'll be given a square of this. It is supposed to fill you up, either to give you energy to dance or so you don't devour all the platters of roast meat served later on.... or to fill the stomach so you are less affected by all the alcohol you're sure to drink.
I write. I create. I observe and record my life, after 40 years, in Greece. I love to create either with my handy craft, cooking or writing. Freeform always. Keep it simple, keep the interest, make it useful. I write about my garden sometimes, my grandchildren and the different culture and traditions. My New Zealand up bringing was so different from this way of life that I do truly feel like an alien at times. Greece is home but so is my kiwi 'homeland'. I am a citizen of both and an alien in both.