Saturday, November 28, 2015

Pasticho

Pasticho is the Venezuelan version of lasagna. It borrows a bit from different Mediterranean cultures that emigrated to Caracas in the last century. Rather than a tomato based sauce and Ricotta cheese it uses a Bechamel sauce. Sort of an evolution of the Greek Pastitsio that is actually made with tube cannelloni pasta. The aroma of nutmeg and cream sauce make it very distinct.
As a kid I remember it was one of my favorite meals . We used to buy it from this deli that made it in little take home aluminum trays so you could cook it at home. The stuff we had then was made using spinach pasta sheets. As I was unable to find any of that here I opted for regular no-boil lasagna pasta sheets.
I start by browning about a pound and a half of ground beef, and flavor it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a touch of allspice. You can get creative here and some include celery or onions and leek. Add an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce for moisture and a little bit of water so it don't get too dry.
Then in a separate sauce pan you make the Bechamel sauce. You start by making a rue. Melt about 1/2 a sick of butter. Once it is melted, start adding about a half cup of flour slowly, a little bit at a time and keep stirring it with a whisk to cook the flour for about 4 minutes on medium low heat. Keep whisking it, DO NOT walk away from it as it will burn if you leave it for 30 seconds. Meanwhile you have about 3 cups of whole milk warming in another pan. Add salt pepper to taste and about a teaspoon of nutmeg, and a quarter teaspoon of clove to your rue and keep whisking it. Then start adding hot milk slowly to the rue and keep whisking on medium low heat. . .
Till you have a thick white creamy sauce like so . Try it and adjust spices as needed to suit taste.
Now you are ready to build your Pasticho . In an oiled 8x8" Pyrex dish start layering your sheets of no boil lasagna with a bit of your browned meat and a bit of the Bechamel sauce .
Sprinkle each layer with a bit of shredded mozzarella cheese and keep layering until you run out of ingredients or space. I added a couple of small sliced tomatoes under the last layer of pasta as I came up short on meat.
Pop it in a 400 degree oven for about a half hour to 40 minutes.
And dig in


8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Well that is supposed to be the general idea.

      Delete
  2. That looks really savory. I like things like that, especially since you can put the left overs in little containers and microwave them when you want them later. Today we are making a ham and potato soup in our crockpot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And the left overs were great. Ham and Potato soup sounds like just the ticket for a cold drizzly day here today.

      Delete
  3. Hi Mike, another home run in the food area. I am writing these directions down. I noticed also, you have a really clean oven.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John, It only looks clean cause the photo does not show the door, LOL, truth be told it desperately needs a cleaning and I just haven't got around to it or just seem to forget. I need to take the battery out of the smoke alarm at the top of the stairs every time I run the oven or else I set it of and freak out the cat.

      Delete
  4. This looks good! might be a good one to batch cook for the freezer for when the baby comes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kev, never tried freezing it, but I don't see why you couldn't. Though not sure how well the bechamel sauce would hold up to freezing. It has always been so good it has never lasted more than two days in the fridge before the left overs get eaten.

      Delete