Friday, April 4, 2014

Pastitsio: Layers of Comfort

look at that steam wafting off the top...
Raindrops on roses...

I am still eagerly awaiting the roses part of the raindrops. But, I must admit I am very thankful this week that the raindrops are raindrops and not snowflakes.

It has begun its slow creep, barely showing its face, but there have been a few subtle signs of spring this week. A few...

-Monday I had 57 degree run-in sunshine. I actually unearthed my capris to celebrate. I think the temps topped out in the 60s that day.

-On the same blessed run I saw snowdrops. Which must be differentiated from raindrops and snowflakes. They are tiny flowers that are often the first to show their faces in the spring.

-The trees are getting that spring fuzzy tree look. You know what I mean? No leaves, but buds making the limb lines less stark. 

-A choir of birds singing in the mornings. Chirping away. Lifting my heart with their joyful chorus.
Sigh...yes, spring is coming.

I am not yet eating spring foods. We are still elbow deep in casseroles and soups for another month or so. Because spring in the Midwest is a very fluid concept. One day it is sunny and 70. The next day it is raining or snowing and in the 30s.

I am sharing a recipe with you today that is atypical for me. It is easy enough, and it definitely is delicious, but it has more steps than most of my recipes. It takes a good 45 minutes hands on time. But every bite declares the time and effort worth it!

Pastitsio-Greek comfort food…

2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
4 Tbsp snipped parsley
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
8 eggs, beaten individually
6 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp pepper
3-1/2 c milk, divided
1 c grated parmesan, divided
2 c elbow macaroni

-Cook elbow macaroni according to package directions, drain.

-In a large skillet, cook meat, onion, and garlic until meat is browned. Drain fat. Stir in tomato sauce, wine, parsley, oregano, salt and cinnamon. Bring to boiling and reduce heat. Simmer 10 minutes. Gradually stir the meat mixture into 2 of the eggs. Set aside.

-For sauce, in a medium sauce pan melt butter. Stir in flour and pepper. Add 3 cups of the milk all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir one minute more. Gradually stir the sauce into 4 of the eggs. Stir in half the parmesan cheese.

-Toss the macaroni with the remaining parmesan cheese, milk and 2 eggs.

-To assemble, in a greased 9x13” baking dish, layer half the macaroni mixture, all the meat mixture, the remaining macaroni mixture, and all the sauce. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon.

-Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes.

macaroni, ground beef, custard

What are you having for dinner? Just a reminder...time is running out on our grand opening sale for She Plans Dinner. To save your $5, enter celebrate5 at checkout for any better or best deal. Offer ends tomorrow, April 5, at midnight.