Pastitsio 9 Steps
Start by preparing your meat sauce. In a large skillet or sauce pot, add in the olive oil and begin browning the ground beef and ground lamb on high heat until cooked through (approximately 7-8 minutes). Use the back of a wooden spoon to break up all large chunks of meat.
Once the meat has been browned, turn the heat down to medium, add in the diced onions as well as the minced garlic and cook for about 2-3 minutes until the onions have softened. Season with salt and pepper.
Add in the tomato paste, ground cinnamon, dried oregano and bay leaf, cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Deglaze with the red wine and cook until the red wine has almost completely reduced.
Add in the beef stock and crushed tomatoes, simmer for about 20-30 minutes until the sauce has reduced by about half. Set aside.
Now prepare the béchamel sauce. In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, melt the butter and then add in the flour, stirring the entire time until a smooth paste forms. Allow this to cook for about 1 minute, stirring the entire time. Gradually add in the warmed milk, continuing to stir the entire time until all of the milk has been incorporated and the sauce is smooth.
Then stir in the cream, nutmeg, grated Parmigiana-Reggiano, as well as beaten eggs, mix until even and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 375°F degrees and begin to assemble the pastitsio. Combine the cooked penne pasta with approximately 1/4 of the meat sauce, mix until even and spread in the bottom of a 9“ x 13“ casserole dish. Next, layer the remainder of the meat sauce evenly, then top with an even layer of the béchamel sauce. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the sides are bubbling and the top is golden brown (it may be necessary to broil for 1-2 minutes after baking to achieve appropriate brownness on the top).
Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes or until set before serving.