Friday, July 11, 2014

Baked Pasta with Chopmeat A.K.A Pastichio ( A Greek Dish )







You can't get more Greek than this,well you can but just as a matter of saying. Waking up on Sunday,  the lingering scent of this beautiful dish just tickled our noses and instead of toast, we would say, is it ready ??? My mom being Greek, would always get up before everyone and prepare this beautiful dish, even if we went out to lunch she would still cook  therefore when we would come back from our outing we would have something to eat. She was just being Greek. Pastichio was not only a Sunday dish, it was a holiday dish, Christmas time, Birthdays, namedays, barbecues etc. Any  holiday would be accompanied by Pastichio. I learned to make it just like my mom and now I'm serving it from my table to yours. It takes about 3 hours to make but you will have it for two days, if it's possible .
Let's start wit the ingredients:
Red Sauce
2 pounds chopmeat
1 medium onion or three small ones
1 medium tomato
2 cloves of garlic
1 whole nutmeg or  1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
4 whole cloves or 1/3 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2  teaspoon of cinnamon
1/3 cup of olive oil
oregano, salt and pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Pasta Pennes or if your have access to a Greek store ask for Special Pastichio Spaghetti I still prefer Penne Pasta
1 egg
2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons of  butter

Cream or Pudding what ever wording you prefer
8 cups of milk
1 evaporated small can of milk
1 whole nutmeg or black pepper
2 whole eggs
1 stick of sweet butter
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Let's begin with the red sauce:
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Chop up your onions,tomato and garlic cloves. Place them in your skillet add your olive oil, ( if you like olive oil you can add more )  1/2 teaspoon of oregano and a dash of salt and pepper then saute for about 10 min. then add your chopmeat, saute for about 15 minutes or until brown. Cover chopmeat with water let cook for about 1 hour on high. Once it's ready to thicken add your tomato paste, grind nutmeg, add whole cloves, cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste and a dash of oregano. When it's ready set aside for later use.
Next we prepare our cream:
Place 8 cold cups of milk in a pot
for each cup we need 2 tablespoons of flour ( all purpose flour)
so 8 cups x 2 tablespoons = 16 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of milk should be the evaporated milk ( tastes a lot better)
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Before placing on stove add flower and stir very well with a whisk
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Once the flour has dissolved completely place on stove on high and keep stirring until it thickens into a cream, if the flour hasn't dissolved completely before placing on stove it will crumble up into tiny balls and your cream will not come out good. Make sure it has dissolved completely !!!!  When the cream is read add the whole stick of butter and stir, then add a whole beaten egg and stir, then ( usually) I add at the tip of my teaspoon black pepper, if your prefer nutmeg you can grind nutmeg into your cream. Stir very well  and set aside.
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Your cream is ready when it can form a somewhat ball shape when placed in a plate I added red sauce so you can see what I mean.
Pasta time
Cook as per package add salt for taste while boiling
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I didn't have Penne Pasta so I used these, they're very  close
Once they are ready drain and place in a pot.
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Add 1/2 stick of regular butter
3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon of butter
1 whole egg and mix all ingredients together.

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Now get your pan, make sure you butter your pan very well.
Add your first layer of pasta make sure you're not able to see the bottom of the pan
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Then add your chopmeat sauce, don't use it all set aside about 4 big salad spoons, this will be our topping when we serve the Pastichio.
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Then add your final layer of pasta
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Then your final layer, the cream
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When your are done, beat 1 egg and spread on top of your Pastichio this gives it color. Bake for 45 minutes  180 celsius or 350 Fahrenheit.
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This is how it should look when it's ready. Before serving set aside for 1/2 hour or else you will not be able to cut proper pieces.
While this is cooling you make your sauce for the topping
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Take your leftover sauce place it in a small pot, add two cups of water,2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon olive oil, cinnamon,cloves, oregano,salt and pepper to taste. Let it boil until it thickens, when it's almost ready to thicken simmer it on medium heat. Place in a small bowl, when you are ready to serve your Pastichio. On top of your piece you can add a teaspoon of parmesan cheese. I prefer to grind with my fork Feta Cheese. I just love feta.
Another dish from my table to yours !! And by the way, if you have kids lots of licking and eating before everything goes into the dishwasher and sink !! ;)
One final tip and most important: When baking this dish, add a bigger pan with water, than the one your are baking with, in the oven, underneath the Pastichio, because it will drip therefore this way, the juices will drip into the pan with water.
Enjoy this Sunday dish !!!!