Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pastitsio with Fennel

This recipe has been in my 3-ring binder for over 10 years, according to the date printed at the bottom of the page! I’ve been following it with a few modifications over the last (gulp!) decade, with great results. I’m so glad that I tried authentic Pastitsio at a Greek Festival all those years ago and decided to make it at home. Hmmm, now that I think about it, I should try some more recipes along those lines!

I used whole wheat pasta and home-made spaghetti sauce. I have not yet found a way to prepare lamb that is appealing to my taste buds, so I used a pound of ground beef, intending to save half of the meat for another dish (the recipe calls for half a pound). When I mixed half the cooked meat with the pasta, the ratio seemed inadequate, so I added the rest of the beef and sauce mixture.

It came as a surprise to me that I had run out of white sauce mix, so I used a non-tomato based mix packet that wasn’t white but tasted great (I have prepared this before with a pesto mix packet, etc.), so my photo looks nothing like the website version because I didn’t think that a layer of a non-white color on top of the pasta would look very appealing. I mixed it all in like baked pasta would typically be prepared. I used skim milk and forgot to garnish with marjoram- but the spices in the recipe were a phenomenal combination already! I also add vegetables to most dishes that don’t already call for sizable amounts, so the photo shows the spinach I stirred in. I have prepared this in the past with mushrooms, zucchini, summer squash, etc.

What is your favorite international dish? Are there any particular spices or flavors that make it special?

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