Friday, 13 January 2012

Cheap 'n' Greek 'n' frugal: Pastitsio (Οικονομικό παστίτσιο)

Every Friday, it's cheap 'n' Greek 'n' frugal Friday.

Prices are in euro (valid in Hania). All ingredients are Greek or locally sourced; those marked with * are considered frugal here because they are cheap and/or people have their own supplies. 

Classic Greek pastitsio (the Greek version of lasagne) involves cooking in three different pots. Beef mince (in Hania, over 10 euro a kilo) is cooked in a red spicy sauce, then poured over boiled pasta, topped with bechamel sauce and sometimes grated cheese. I recently made a successful one using just one sausage instead of mince. It's quick to cook and can be made with some of your leftovers.

Very frugal pastitsio (serves 4)
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped* 
1 fat clove of garlic, finely chopped*
1 medium-sized sausage of your choice, chopped small (~1 euro)
~200g tomato sauce* (half a store-bought tin costs about ~50 cents)
300-350g tubular pasta (there is always a pasta deal at the supermarket; LIDL sells 500g packets of 100% Greek pasta for 50 cents)
a punnet of Greek yoghurt (~75 cents; I had some left over from a tub which no one wanted to eat)
2 heaped tablespoons of flour*
200ml milk (25 cents)
a few glugs of olive oil*
no salt and pepper needed (a spicy sausage will have enough of this in it)

Heat some oil in a small saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and sausage and let brown for a few minutes. Add the tomato sauce and stir. Cook on low heat for another 5 minutes.

Boil the pasta in a large pot and drain well. Place the pasta in a baking tin and pour over the sauce. In the same saucepan where you cooked the sausage, place the yoghurt, milk and a glug or two of olive oil. Heat and stir, to blend liquify the yoghurt. Add the flour and stir constantly over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Pour this over the pasta. Place the baking tin in a moderate and cook until golden, about 35-40 minutes. Take the cooked pastitsio out of the oven and let it solidify a few minutes before cutting to serve.

We had it with a tomato salad (the tomatoes under the 'greenhouse' are doing well despite the cold) and some home-brewed wine. A slice of bread to dip into the extra virgin olive oil salad dressing makes this meal a very filling one.

Total cost of meal: about 3 euro; less than 1 euro per person.

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