I had heard of it and seen it on T.V. shows but had never eaten it.
On one of our trips to Adelaide we took Miss Fish to - The Greek on Halifax - a Greek restaurant that Mr CLI & I had found on an earlier trip to Adelaide.
Now Miss Fish is the Chicken Parmigiana Queen of Victoria, so she was a bit disappointed when the restaurant didn't have any, but as luck would have it while explaining to her that this restaurant was Greek a waitress brought out the specials board. Now Miss Fish not only loves Chicken Parmigiana, but she also loves pasta. Once I explained what it was she was very happy to have it.
Now it had been made with very long tubular noodles, think rigatoni but long like spaghetti. Now having seen this sort of pasta before, it now required another trip to the
Adelaide Central Markets, oh what we do in the name of food. lol.
I found the pasta at a stall that I regularly shop at.
Mezarri Number 11
Now when I made this I realised all too late that I didn't have enough of the tubular pasta for both layers, so I fossicked in the back of the shelf and got out my large pasta shells - another Adelaide market purchase - that I usually fill with a ricotta cheese mix and bake in a tomato sauce, so these became mt first layer of the dish.
Now you really don't have to go and purchase special pasta, for this dish. The only reason that I did was because I could buy it. Most recipes use rigatoni.
You can also use either beef or lamb mince, on this occasion I used lamb mince.
Meat sauce - 500 gms lamb or beef mince, 1/2 only finely diced, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp dried oregano, 2 tbsps tomato paste, 1/2 cup beef stock, 2 cups tomato passata
Bechamel - 3 tbsps butter, 1/4 cup plain flour, 4 cups milk, salt & pepper, 1 cup grated tasty cheese
Topping - 1/4 cup grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 200.c. Bring enough water to the boil to cook noodles, cook the noodles until al dente. Drain
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frypan or large saucepan, add onion cook 1-2 minutes or until starting to soften. Add mince, cook until all pinkness leaves the meat, ensuring that you break up any lumps while stirring. Make a hole in the centre of the meat add the tomato paste, cook for 1 minute, stir into the meat. Add the herbs, salt, pepper, stock & passata.
Cover and reduce the heat simmer for 25 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened, but some liquid remains. Remove from the heat.
Make this either in a saucepan on the stove top or a large jug in the microwave.
Melt the butter, add the flour, cook for 1 minute. Add the milk, whisk until thickened. In the microwave this will take approx 5 minutes on the stove top 7 - 10 minutes. Once thickened remove from the heat add the cheese, whisk till melted then season with salt and pepper.
In a large dish mine was approx 20 cm x 35 cm. Add half the noodles stir in about a cup of the bechemal sauce, flatten the noodles to make an even layer. top with all the meat sauce, spread evenly. Then top with the remaining noodles. Pour over remaining bechemal sauce. Top with the parmesan.
First layer of noodles awaiting the meat sauce.
All ready for the oven.
Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the parmesan has melted and browned.
I served it with buttered french stick, if you wanted to you could serve it with a Greek salad, but I found the pastitsio and french stick was enough.
So try this dish it is quite simple and very tasty.