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Why a PINK chef's coat?

Simply put, I carry my Dad's legacy with me through my cookbook, cooking and everyday I am writing my food columns, he is always with me. I carry my Mom with me through a silent reminder of her struggle with breast cancer that took her life, as well as the lives of many other women who have dealt with, and are still dealing with, this horrible affliction. Besides, why not pink? It makes a man look good!

Classic Pastitsio

Pastitsio literally means anything from 'pasta' to 'mess'. Maybe it has something to do with how it used to look in days past but the site of Pastitsio now is quite enticing, with the aroma second to none.

There are many ways of preparing this Greek dish, and some of them are complicated, requiring the preparation of either Mornay or Bechamel sauce, along with many other herbs and/or seasonings. Here is a simplified version of Pastitsio with the same great flavor without the added steps.

I have always said that if I were to choose one vegetable that goes perfectly with lamb, it would be green beans. Both the first and second Yankee Chefs agreed and always, when able, prepared lamb with green beans.

Ingredients

For 4 people

Recipe

  • 8 ounce(s) elbow macaroni
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) nutmeg
  • 1 cup(s) cooked green beans, cut into 1-inch segments
  • 1 lb(s) ground lamb
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon(s) minced garlic in oil
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon(s) oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) cinnamon or allspice
  • 3 tablespoon(s) butter or margarine
  • 3 tablespoon(s) flour
  • 2 cup(s) milk
  • 1/2 cup(s) grated parmesan cheese

Classic Pastitsio Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Stir the beaten eggs and nutmeg into the pasta well: set aside.
  2. Spray the bottom and half way up the side of a 2 quart casserole dish or 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Lay the prepared pasta in the bottom of the dish followed by the green beans evenly over the top: set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. In a large skillet, cook lamb, onion and garlic over medium heat until done. Drain if preferred but I leave the juices in the pan. Stir in the tomato puree, oregano, pepper and cinnamon. Reduce to low heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Spread this mixture over the pasta. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, whisk well and add the milk. Continue cooking and constantly stirring until thickened, about 5 minutes. Pour over the meat mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 30-35 minutes or until Pastitsio is set and the top is bubbling.
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