the appetizer:

Greece is a meeting place between East and West, its cuisine mixing classical Mediterranean cooking with "oriental" influences from the Middle East. Greek food remains true to its roots, like ancient philosopher Epicurus' dictum to "live well and enjoy the simple things in life."



Lamb and Pasta Casserole (Pastitsio)

16 ounces ziti
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 lg. onion, chopped
1-1/2 pounds ground lamb
6 ripe tomatoes, seeded, chopped
8 ounces tomato puree
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt, pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large stew pot, heat the olive oil. Saute the onions for 5 minutes, then add the lamb. Cook until no pink show, crumbling it up with a spoon as it cooks. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic, oregano, and cinnamon. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup of bread crumbs and quickly stir in the beaten egg.


4 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
6 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces freshly grated kefalotiri cheese

Combine 3 cups of milk and the butter in a pan. Heat until small bubbles appear around the rim of the pan. Remove from heat. In a larger saucepan, whisk the eggs until frothy. Add the remaining 1 cup of milk. Then, whisking constantly, gradually add the flour and salt. Slowly pour in the heated mixture to the eggs while whisking. Sauce should be thick.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a deep 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the bottom of the dish with the remaining 1/4 cup of bread crumbs, then half of the pasta. Cover it with the meat, then half of the sauce. Sprinkle with half the cheese. Add another layer of pasta, the remaining cream sauce, and the remaining cheese. Bake for 45 minutes.



Greek Cookbooks