Pastitsio, the classic Athenian recipe, a pasta bake, similar to lasagne, but made with long tubular macaroni called ‘mezzani’. If you can’t find it where you live, feel free to use shorter macaroni, or bucatini, which is Italian pasta with a smaller tube. But if, like me, you believe certain shapes of pasta go with particular sauces and are a little bit fussy about that, make the effort to get the right pasta.
I admit that I’m a pasta fascist. I recoil with horror when my daughter puts different shaped pasta together in the same pot. Of different cooking times! No. Just no.
My other pasta rules: buy the very best, the stuff that costs a couple of pounds a packet. You aren’t exactly breaking the bank with that. In fact this is one of my life rules: if you don’t have much money, go luxe on the cheaper things of life. Buy great soap, great pasta, great tinned tomatoes. Never buy cheap pasta and of course never EVER buy quick cook.
Do not confuse pastitsio with pasticcio, an Italian dish, which is more like a pie (although you will see recipes around the internet which call it by the latter name).
I think this is a great supper club or dinner party dish, as you can make everything in advance, assemble it, then bung it in the oven while your guests are here, leaving you hands-free to serve drinks and chat.
Vegetarian Pastitsio Recipe
Serves 8 to 10 people
For the method go to my blog post on this recipe where I also talk about my new found love of Greek wines (even Retsina!) in my winetrust100.com column. And I explain how to keep all of your pasta in straight lines.