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Potluck : Do You Feel Lucky?

Pastitsio, the Greek layered macaroni, ground meat and custard dish, is the perfect potluck casserole because it mixes well with other dishes. It can be assembled ahead in any size pan, or even baked ahead and reheated. It’s easy to tote to a potluck site and can be cut into neat squares to serve.

GREEK MACARONI CASSEROLE (Pastitsio)

1 pound large elbow macaroni or spaghetti

1/2 cup butter, melted

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1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cinnamon

Dash sugar

Salt, pepper

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3 eggs, beaten

Meat Sauce

Cream Sauce

Cook macaroni in boiling salted water until tender, then drain. Return drained pasta to pan. Add butter, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, nutmeg and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss gently. Add eggs. Toss to coat pasta well. Set aside.

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Spread half pasta mixture evenly in 13x9-inch baking pan. Spoon Meat Sauce over pasta. Top with remaining pasta mixture. Pour Cream Sauce evenly over pasta layer. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees 50 to 55 minutes or until golden. Cut into 3-inch squares to serve. Makes 12 servings.

Meat Sauce

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

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1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup beef broth

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2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional

Salt, pepper

Melt butter in large skillet. Add onion and garlic. Saute until onion is tender. Add beef. Cook until browned and crumbly. Stir in tomato paste. Add beef broth, parsley and cinnamon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat 20 minutes. Makes about 3 cups.

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Cream Sauce

3 cups milk

6 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

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Dash ground nutmeg

Salt, pepper

6 egg yolks, beaten

Scald milk in medium saucepan over medium heat, or microwave, until bubbles form around edge.

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Melt butter in another medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Gradually add scalded milk. Stir over low heat until mixture comes to boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool slightly. Gradually stir in egg yolks until sauce is smooth. Makes about 4 cups.


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