Pastitsio

A healthier and lighter take on a Greek classic Pastitsio. Instead of a rich cheesy sauce, it’s topped with a much lighter blend of yoghurt, tahini and parmesan cheese.

Prep: 20 minutes 

Cook: 40 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients


2 tbsp olive oil - extra virgin
1 red onion/s - diced
4 clove/s garlic - diced
600 g lamb mince
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 bay leaf/s
1 tsp dried oregano
60 ml red wine
1 zucchini/s - diced into 1 cm pieces
2 carrot/s - diced into 1 cm pieces
700 g tomato passata (puree)
125 ml chicken stock or bone broth
1 tsp sea salt - or to taste
Ground black pepper - to taste
30 g baby spinach - chopped (1 cup)
250 g rice quinoa penne pasta (or any pasta that suits)

Topping


1 clove/s garlic
500 g full-fat natural yoghurt - or greek
yoghurt (2 cups)
2 tbsp hulled tahini
1 free-range or organic egg/s
1 tsp sea salt
Ground black pepper
25 g parmesan cheese - grated (¼ cup)
2 tbsp pinenuts
¼ bunch/s fresh parsley leaves - approx.
1 handful, finely chopped


Method


1. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the onion. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
2. Add the garlic and lamb mince, sauté to brown the mince.
3. Add the cinnamon, mixed spice, bay leaf and oregano and cook for a minute until you smell their fragrance.
4. Turn the heat up to high and add the red wine (it should sizzle and reduce quickly and remove the alcohol).
5. Reduce the heat and add the tomato passata, broth, zucchini, carrots and seasoning.
6. Cover and simmer with the lid ajar for 15-20 minutes.
7. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/ 350°F fan-forced.
8. While the sauce is simmering, boil the penne.
9. Once it is almost cooked, drain and rinse the pasta and mix in with the sauce and the baby spinach.
10. Place into an oven proof serving dish.
11. In a food processor or by hand, grate cheese and set aside.
12. Then blend the garlic, yoghurt, tahini, sea salt, pepper and egg.
13. Pour this over the sauce/ pasta mix, top with the grated parmesan and pine nuts.
14. Bake for 10-15 mins or until the cheese is melted and the top is browned.

Serve

A healthier and lighter take on a Greek classic Pastitsio. Instead of a rich cheesy sauce, it’s topped with a much lighter blend of yoghurt, tahini and parmesan cheese.

Sprinkle with the chopped parsley leaves and serve with a green, leafy salad. Thermomix (TMX) I chop the onion and garlic in the TMX but cook it all in a pan. I find it cooks better that way, not as sloppy as cooking in the TMX. I then use it to grate the cheese and make the topping sauce.

Make ahead: Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Re-heat in a low oven until just hot.


Variations


Onion and garlic-free: Replace the onion with a small fennel bulb and the garlic a pinch of chilli flakes.
Vegetarian: Replace the mince with 2 cans of brown lentils (drained and rinsed). Choose vegetable broth.
Nut-free: Omit the pine nuts.
Wine free: Replace the wine with broth or stock (and a tsp of vinegar).
Different vegetables: Feel free to switch up the veggies to suit your supplies and tastes.