Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Pastitsio, but less fat and stuff.

I have been craving the creamy. (I don't like the word creamy, so I will not use it again for the rest of this post.) Because I have been craving the smooth, cheesy, whiteness, I decided to try a ground beef pasta dish with elbow macaroni. TJ said, "Like hamburger helper?" Uh, yes dear. Something like that. (sorrowfully hanging my head that indeed I am craving the hamburger helper) So I decided I would try something a bit higher in class than the trashy box-o'processed, powdered, helper.

My mother-in-law mailed (postage? what is that?) me a recipe for Pastistio last year. I believe I made it for a birthday party. It was AWESOME! But TJ thought there were too many onions, which it did call for two chopped onions. I was amazed at the egg quantity with 6!! So I followed the recipe for the ground beef mixture, and then did my own cheesey white goodness for the elbow macaroni. It was excellent. Here is the recipe, as best as I can remember it. (Remarking snobbily, I really don't use recipes):

elbow macaroni (12 ounces, maybe??)

1.2 lbs ground beef
1/2 t cinnamon
1/3 cup red wine
1/2 cup tomato sauce (I actually blended up canned "chopped tomato with onion and garlic", it was a wee watery, so i did not add the water. If you use canned tomato sauce, perhaps add 1/4 cup water)
1 t tomato paste (if it isn't thickening up for you by simmering)

Brown the beef, add the spices, add the wine and tomato sauce, simmering about 15 minutes to thicken. Add the paste if necessary.

3T unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 2 T flour
2 cups milk (I used 1% and it worked fine)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
After you cook the noodles, drain, rinse, and let cool while cooking the sauce. For sauce, melt butter, and add salt. Whisk in the flour until combined. Whisk in the milk. Simmer and whisk until thick, add cheese and black pepper to taste. Toss in noodles, stirring it all up.

Preheat 375.
In a round casserole/baking dish, put ground beef and then put sauced up noodle on top. Dust the top with nutmeg. Bake for 30 minutes. Let sit about 5 minutes, so that it sets up nicely.

When I made this last night, I ended up with a bit more noodle than necessary for the top layer, so just eyeball it.

I figure it is less fat than the original recipe because:
A. I did not use butter to cook the beef or onions in, nor did I add oil to the pan.
B. I did not add eggs to the noodles, as is customary.
C. I did not add eggs to the sauce mixture.

I think there were 4 good sized servings in this. The original recipe, served more like 8-12 (imagine 1 chopped onion and 3 eggs in this smaller one).

You know how I know that this recipe was a hit?? TJ wanted to take leftovers for lunch. SCORE!

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