Casseroles/

Do-Ahead Spinach Pastitsio

Author: SallyK / Date: 2012-11-20 @ 12:28 am / Print Me! /
Tags: Dairy / European Recipes / Holidays and Company / Pasta and Noodles / Quick and Easy / Spinach /

This Greek layered dish is easy to assemble the night before entertaining guests. It makes a fine vegetarian entree, especially when served with a Greek salad and Baklava for dessert. Do-Ahead Spinach Pastitsio

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c dry penne pasta (or any small hollow pasta)
  • 10 oz frozen cut or chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 c ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 c finely chopped celery
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dry dill
  • 1 tsp dry mint
  • 1 tsp dry parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 c milk
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Topping:

  • 2 Tsp dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well and set aside.
  2. Squeeze the excess water out of the thawed spinach using your hands or pressing against a fine strainer with the back of a spoon. Place in a large bowl. Blend in the ricotta thoroughly and set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter on medium low heat. Add onions and celery; saute 3 minutes. Add the garlic, dill, mint, parsley, salt and pepper; saute 1 minute more.
  4. Whisk in the flour and stir for 30 seconds before adding the milk. Continue to whisk until thick and beginning to bubble at edges. Add to the ricotta/spinach mixture and blend well.
  5. Butter an 8 x 8 x 2 inch pan and add half the pasta to the bottom. Add a layer of half the spinach mixture. Repeat once.
  6. Sprinkle an even layer of mozarella on top. In a small bowl blend the topping ingredients. Scatter the topping over the pastitsio. Cover tightly and refrigerate until an hour before service.
  7. To cook, remove from refrigerator while preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Cut across in thirds and then cut the three pieces in half. Serve hot.