Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna) with Greens

Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna) with Greens

Another dish that I saw a lot in Greece was pastitsio. Pastitsio is a Greek layered baked pasta dish that is similar to a lasagna though instead of using flat noodles it uses long tubular noodles. The pastitsio that I saw in Greece was all made with layers of a meat sauce along with the layers of pasta and covered with a layer of bechamel sauce. When I got back the first place that I looked for a recipe for pastitsio was in my collection of bookmarks and I had this recipe for a pastitsio with greens from Mediterranean Cooking In Alaska bookmarked. This "greens" version is made with layers of green leafed vegetables like spinach and chard instead of a meat sauce. Although I had been looking forward to trying a pastitsio with a meat sauce with a touch of cinnamon in it my current obsession with chard made this version irresistible. With the dill and feta in addition to the spinach and chard this recipe seems a lot like a pasta version of a spinach pie.

Normally I like to write that a recipe was quick and simple but this one actually took a bit of time and effort. You have to cook the pasta, wilt the spinach and chard, mix the filling, make the bechamel sauce, assemble and then bake it. It is not difficult but it does require a bit of effort and it dirties a lot of dishes. I did run into one problem with this recipe and that was that there was simply too much to fit into the baking pan. It was not too much of a problem as I ended up with nice and thick layers of greens, just the way that I wanted it. The pastitsio with greens turned out great! I liked everything about it from the crispy panko topping to the creamy bechamel sauce to the thick layers of greens all sandwiched between thin layers of whole wheat pasta. Dill is one of my favorite herbs and it really made this dish amazing. All said and done, this pastitsio with greens may have been a bit of work and clean up but it was so worth it!

Note: I had to let it cool for a long time to be able to cut the nice straight edges for the slice in the photo.

Ingredients:
1/2 pound penne (or other hollow pasta)
1 bunch spinach
1 bunch chard
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch green onions (chopped)
1/2 cup dill (chopped)
1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
1/4 cup mint (chopped)
1 cups feta (crumbled)
1 cups kasseri (or fontina)
1 cup manouri (or ricotta)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

Directions:
1. Cook the pasta as directed on package.
2. Blanch the spinach and chard and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and drain.
3. Heat he oil in a pan.
4. Add the onions, salt and pepper and saute until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
5. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
6. Mix the spinach, chard, onions, green onions, dill, parsley, mint, feta, fontina and ricotta in a large bowl. ( I found that using my hands worked best.)
7. Warm the milk but do not boil.
8. Melt the butter in a sauce pan.
9. Mix in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.
10. Whisk in the milk and cook until it thickens.
11. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
12. Pour 1/2 cup of the bechamel into the pasta and mix.
13. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl.
14. Temper the egg yolks with some of the warm bechamel sauce and then mix them into the rest of the sauce.
15. Cook for 2 minutes on low while stirring.
16. Mix the parmesan and the panko bread crumbs.
17. Place 1/2 of the pasta into the bottom of a 9x9 inch baking dish.
18. Spread 1/2 of the filling on top of the pasta.
19. Place remaining pasta on top.
20. Spread the remaining filling on top of the pasta.
21. Spread the bechamel over the filling.
22. Sprinkle the parmesan and panko over the top.
23. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until golden brown, about 30-50 minutes.
24. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Similar Recipes:
Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
Mushroom Lasagna
Lasagna
Spinach and Feta Lasagna (aka Spanakopita Lasagna)
Eggplant Tortino in a Kalamata Olive Marinara Sauce
Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pasta

Take a look a Presto Pasta Nights for more great pasta dishes.

74 comments:

Christelle said...

I very much fancy trying this dish, the texture must be quite different from the normal lasaqgnas...

soulchocolate said...

Wow this looks completely yummy! Apart from the washing up like you say, the end product justifies the effort put in! Beautiful!

Rita said...

I have seen pastitsio in other blogs, but yours is the first one I see with greens instead of meat, nice!!
I guess one can use store bought bechamel to reduce the pot cleaning and time....

maybelle's mom said...

OH, I made this one a while ago for Taste and Create when Laurie was my partner. It was a lot of work, but delicious. When I did it I used nettle, dandelion and chard.

Manggy said...

That is one hefty lasagna! I hope you had company to share it with! Tubular pasta sounds like fun :)

Kalyn said...

Great photo (such nice straight edges!) and I can tell this would taste amazing. I have a Greek friend and her dad makes a fabulous version of this.

Cheryl said...

Waaayyy too complicated for me, it looks delicious!

Mrs Erg├╝l said...

I'm sure it is worth everything!

Darius T. Williams said...

I love this - simple and easy - and with the greens it's gotta be healthy, right?

-DTW
www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

Sharon said...

I was hoping this would be a quick recipe because it looks amazing. Definitely worth the effort, though! Pastitsio is one of my favorite Greek dishes.

Natashya said...

Pasta is my favourite food of all times. I love your Greek lasagna, it looks wonderful! What you need is someone who will wash dishes for food! Fair trade, I think.

Heather said...

oh my gosh! mint! feta! spinach! carbs! what more could you ask for?! this looks delicious :)

Michelle said...

This is just the kind of dish I like to curl up with on a cool fall night.

Elra said...

Kevin,
This is very good looking lasagna, I am sure it was delicious.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That's a dish I totally love! That version with greens looks fantastic!

Cheers,

Rosa

Helene said...

Kevin, long recipes to make are sometimes totally worthed. You make me want to explore Greek Food beyond Chicken souvlaki & tzatziki.

Pam said...

It looks absolutely beautiful. I have never made a lasagna with anything other then flat noodles. Great photo Kevin.

Nina Timm said...

Oh my, this must have been one awesome meal...

Amanda said...

I always love recipes that use hollow pasta as lasagna substitutes. So easy and quick.

diva said...

hmmm. that looks really hearty..i would love to try this

Jan said...

I love Pastitsio but I've never had it with greens in before. Looks good.

ttfn300 said...

ok i'm so glad you went on this trip and are bringing us so much great food!!!

Peter M said...

Nice assembly of the pastitsio...good eye in picking Laurie's dishes...she's great.

VeggieGirl said...

PHENOMENAL!!

Bellini Valli said...

I would like to try pastitsio with greens Kevin...go glad you found this recipe:D

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer said...

This recipe looks off the charts and would definitely be worth the time...

Adrienne said...

To echo previous commenters, I'm so glad you went to Greece! I love seeing you try to recreate what you ate there, and this looks particularly awesome. Tis the season for baked pastas, no?

Steph said...

Your lasagna looks delicious! I could never cut out a slice of lasagna that neatly!

Rachel said...

I'm always looking for more ways to get my greens and this recipe looks amaaaazing.! I think I'll try out a gluten free/vegan adaptation. Nothing like pasta, greens, and creamy sauce to make this lady happy:)

marysol said...

This is one dish I've been meaning to try ever since I bought a cookbook on Greek cuisine, but the picture of your Pastitsio would trample the one in my book! Looks wonderful Kevin.

Robin Sue said...

I love Pasitisio- never had it with greens though. Looks healthy and pretty!

Dawn said...

wow that's a lot of ingredients! Came out beautiful though, well worth the effort indeed.

mikky said...

oh my... this is A M A Z I N G... i would love a bite... :)

OhioMom said...

Okay I just came from the grocer and actually have most of these ingredients, me thinks this will be Sunday Supper! I really want a bite right now :)

Ruth Daniels said...

Wow! Gorgeous looking AND tasty! Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

lisaiscooking said...

Sounds delicious with the greens and dill! Great photo too.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

What an interesting twist on a classic! Your pastitsio looks amazing. I love it!

cakewardrobe said...

I can just imagine you picking at the not so cleanly cut pieces while waiting for it to cool! I would too!

Patsyk said...

Looks awesome! Good tip on letting it really cool before cutting into it - your cuts are so nice and clean!

Marjie said...

OMG!! I made the meat sauce version a couple of weeks ago, and it was just awesome! No doubt that the green makes yours really pretty! And your straight edges are astonishing - I just heap it out with a giant serving spoon.

Maria said...

That lasagna has my name written all over it. It looks so good!!

Holler said...

What a great idea! I would never have thought of layering pasta tubes to make a lasagne. Brilliant and this one sounds utterly delicious! Lasagne always seems to take a lot of preparation, but it is so worth it :)

Rosie said...

This is one scrummy lasagna Kevin! We adore pasta in my household and this would be such a treat!

Rosie x

kamailesfood said...

Oh man! This looks so yummy. I love the thick layers of greens too. The sprinkle of panko crumbs sounds good too.

nicole said...

Oh My Goodness! I wish I was sitting at your table eating that for dinner. That looks so delicious.

Cakebrain said...

I love the look of this pastitsio--the layers of green and the hollows of the pasta are a fabulous visual contrast! mmmm.

Hillary said...

Ooh this looks amazing! Can you make pastitsios with tomato based sauces? I never knew about them but it is way more intriguing with the tubular noodles!

Lisa said...

That is one filling lasagna Kevin! I just love that you use greens here. Another winning recipe. Honestly, you need to publish a cookbook!

Allie said...

How beautiful, Kevin! It looks delicious!

Kevin said...

Hillary: The more common pastitsio uses a tomato meat sauce with a touch of cinnamon.

Debbie said...

I've never had this Greek dish but it looks delicious.

Esi said...

I love pastitsio and this looks like a great lightened up version!

Mary said...

What a gorgeous dish! Your pictures are beautiful. I've bookmarked this one.

Gloria said...

Kevin this lasagna look absolutely georgeous and yummy!!! Gloria

meeso said...

This looks way more delicious than the average lasagna I'm use to!

Taylor (aka Miss GLTC) said...

Your food creations are amazing...I adore visiting your blog...so many temptations and not enough waistline to accommodate the outcome if I tried everything you posted. But this...its calling my name. YUM.

Lisa magicsprinkles said...

This looks so fabulous. I know it took a long time to make, and probably a long time to type up too :D - I hope you know it is much appreciated. I'm starring this one.

Alexa said...

Kevin,
This Pastitsio looks so festive, perfect for Winter entertaining. I will have to try it my rice pasta. The picture is delicious looking.

Elly said...

I remember seeing this on Laurie's blog and thinking it looked great. Yours looks beautiful, Kevin. Nice thick layers just like you said. I love chard and dill, too.

Grace said...

i'm so glad you went to greece and brought back all these great ideas. :)

~Madeline~ said...

I am down with any pasta that has a bechamel sauce. Throw in beautiful greens and all of that delicious cheese and I am in heaven! I love the look of the penne in this dish. Great recipe Kevin!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I think you are going to end up moving to Greece! You really seamed to have loved the food from there! This looks like something I would like!

Jeanne said...

I see what you mean about "it took a bit of time" - that's a lot of steps!! Love the idea of doing it with greens rather than a meat sauce. And I did wonder how you got that picture-perfect photo ;-)

giz said...

It's amazing to me how many different ways you can take similar ingredients and make something different by a tweek here and there. Looks wonderful.

Bobby said...

I just had lasanga for dinner last night. I really enjoy almost any lasanga. This greek version looks so good. Great photo as well, I know that lasanga can be hard to get a good picture of but you pulled it off to perfection!

Sweet Bird said...

Oh my gosh, I love pastitsio! This is much different from my mother's version, but this brings back so many memories.

You're version looks fantastic, Kevin. What great inspiration you came home with!

Jaime said...

it's like greek lasagna :) it's amazing how many great layers you packed into that!

Aggie said...

Oh my my my...this looks heavenly.

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Okay, Kevin. . .I was wary when you said making this dirtied up a lot of dishes. But I'm willing to give it a try, since you said it was worth it. That, and the picture does indeed look worth it yummy!

Laurie Constantino said...

Kevin, I'm so glad you liked the pastitsio. What a nice surprise to discover you'd made it successfully!

Lorraine E said...

That looks incredible, the kind of thing that I would eagerly and happily eat every day for lunch or dinner! :)

Anonymous said...

Looks absolutely yummy! How did you cut the lasagne like this???

Kevin said...

Anonymous: I had to wait for it to cool down quite a bit before cutting to make sure that it did not fall apart.

CJ - Food Stories said...

You pastitsio is the bomb - Would love to see this submitted to FoodFotoGallery.com for everyone to see :-)

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