Ilias is a good friend of mine, who I met in Meron Bareket’s Podcast Incubator Bootcamp (in the beta test version.) He, like I am, is creating a podcast to help others in his region be more successful in their businesses. He lives in Thessoloniki (sometimes referred to as Salonica), Greece and works as a civil engineer
Ilias also shares his mother’s secret recipe for his favorite food in the show notes!
For the pasta
▪ 500g pasta for Pastitsio (1 pound dry)-available at Greek or ethnic groceries. (You can substitute ziti or penne )
For the béchamel sauce
▪ 1/2 cup butter
▪ 1/2 cup all purpose flour
▪ 1 lt milk warmed
▪ 2 eggs
▪ 1 cup parmesan cheese
For the meat sauce:
▪ 600 gr. Ground beef or preferably veal
▪ 400 gr. Tomato sauce
▪ 2 onions minced
▪ 2 garlic cloves thinly minced
▪ 3 tbsp. olive oil
▪ salt, pepper
1. For the meat sauce, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onions and the garlic and sauté for 5 minutes until they are translucent. Then add the ground beef and cook over medium-high heat until pink color disappears, about 5-15 minutes. Add tomato sauce, salt, and pepper and allow sauce to simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, until sauce is ready.
2. While sauce is simmering put water on to boil for pasta.
3. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. When butter starts to bubble, using a whisk, add flour to melted butter whisking continuously to make a smooth paste or roux. Allow the flour/butter mixture to cook for a minute but do not allow it to brown.
4. Add warmed milk and eggs to mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Simmer over low heat until it thickens but does not boil.
5. Add pinch of nutmeg, pepper, salt and the 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and stir in. If sauce still needs to thicken, return to heat and cook over very low heat while continuing to stir.
6. Brush the bottom and sides of the lasagna pan with olive oil. Layer the bottom with half the pasta and sprinkle 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.
7. Add the meat filling in an even layer to the pasta. Top with remaining pasta and then add the final layer of béchamel sauce.
8. Bake in 350 F (180 C) degree oven for approximately 1 hour or until the top is a nice brown.