Most likely, this word is foreign to you.
Familiarize yourself with it because from now on, Pastitsioni will become one of your favourite dishes.
It is a dish that has been around for centuries, called pastitsio, which is known to a handful of people in the Mediterrean areas of Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, Malta (Tumpana), Turkey and surrounding areas.
However, since the dish has not travelled out of the region, I have taken the liberty to re-introduce and re-name it to the world as PASTITSIONI.
Basically, that will be its new name from now on.
Try to prounounce it a few times, PAST-TIT-SIO-NI.
Now that I have loosened up your tongue, I will ensure you perfect the recipe, so that your tongue will enjoy the taste in a little while.
I fondly remember my mother used to make it very often during my childhood.
At one of our regular sales meetings, I mentioned to the staff that tonight we were having pastitsioni for dinner.
The immediate response was, Whaatt? What is thatttt?
The Pastitsioni was ready.
I spent almost the entire day, creating, taking numerous pictures, changing positions and enhancements to create this recipe.
By early evening, the aroma penetrated the air and they were quickly familiarized with the dish, its taste and appearance.
I must add that they all enjoyed it immensely.
However, at one moment, while I was watching the group enjoy the dish, (and there were lots of mmm’s), by quickly scanning everyone, I noticed that our oriential salesman had made a Pastitsioni sandwich.
I was shocked!
I have incorporated a photo of the level of sadness into which I sunk (glassy and teary eyed).
Never in my dreams did I ever think that I would see such a thing!
After spending the time to make it perfect, carefully cutting it into even squares and providing plates knives and forks so that we all could enjoy, I was astonished to see such a thing!
At that moment, I asked for a piece of rope to commit suicide.
Everyone looked at me and I signalled them with my eyes.
The man who dared to place the Pastitsioni between two slices of bread, squashed it down and after several bites of the fallen pieces, he finally managed to take a bite of his Pastitsioni sandwich.
I would like to stress that Greeks are passionate about their Pastitsioni, and since some of my sales force are of Greek origin, I could not prevent them from expressing their frustration at the thought of someone creating a Pastitsioni sandwich after the amount of work that is placed in creating this dish from scratch.
The attached photos express their feelings.
Thank God this mass suicide mission did not materialize.
This photos of Pastitsio are worth a million dollars on the black market and eBay.
However, it will take a very, very long time to explain to 1.5 billion Oriental people that Pastitsioni is eaten as portrayed in the photo with a knife and a fork and not squashed and crushed between two slices of bread.
Nevertheless, after a prolonged effort in trying to explain to my oriental salesman the proper way to eat this dish, he responded as follows.
"You Greeks spent a few centuries perfecting the pastitsioni creation, but we orientals had developed the pasta centuries before Marco Polo visited us in China and stole our pasta recipes. "
He did stress again and again that the pastitsioni was delicious.
Since I am in the food busines and my mission is to produce the finest and the best products from all over the world for all nationalities, I have seen many things in my life and I have come to the conclusion that I will continue producing the best products, where it is the consumer's choice to consume them however they wish.
Therefore, I postponed my suicide attempt until further notice.
Of course, this whole episode was all in good humour!
Enough story telling and I will now continue with our recipe.
Let us take a break from junk food, like chips, nuts, cookies and all their relatives and imagine, that after following this recipe, in a little while, you may become one of the greatest chefs of all time.
Now that I have your undivided attention, the recipe I am about to reveal is in a step by step picture format, and by the way, I took all of them myself.
So far, I have created many recipes on my website and over 40 booklets.
These booklets are related to product information, product invention, recipes, personal stories, cherished people and things.
Although, I am primarily in the food business, I wrote two very special booklets about animals:
The Koukla Story, which refers to my three beloved pets, and the Canada Geese story, which accounts for my experience with this Canadian treasure.
It has been forty years since I started this adventure in the food business.
Now with over 1,000 items from all over the world, I thank the Lord again and again that I have not had a single recall experience.
So, to all my dear consumers, here is a recipe to make you proud.
As I have mentioned in other booklets, many people believe that cooking at home is a female thing.
Gentlemen, did you know that cooking is very relaxing, therapeutic and highly recommended for workaholics like me and you?
Imagine, going to the market and purchasing the items you need for a specific recipe.
It is a wonderful experience!
Recently, I received a telephone call from a gentlemen who happened to be the Chief Executive of a large accounting firm.
He informed me that he had never cooked in his life and that he always enjoyed his wife’s cooking which consisted primarily of steaks, roast potatoes, etc., the usual North American/Canadian cuisine.
He also mentioned that I should continue to write more recipes about all of my favourite dishes because, he has become hooked on my recipes and has entered into a world he has never known.
Here I go, introducing the recipe for PASTITSIONI.
You will need to purchase one package of Mr. Goudas Pastitsioni.
When you purchase pasta, each variety has a number.
Regular spaghetti, is number six. Spaghettini, is number ten.
For Pastitsioni you need to purchase the number two or three which have a hole in the centre and approximately quarter of an inch outside diameter.
The purpose of the hole is to allow juices to penetrate while cooking.
Sometimes in the past, it was very difficult to find this particular variety of pasta in stores.
However, since I have started marketing this product and by you reading this recipe, I am sure that it would become one of your favourites.
There is a link included in FlyerMall pages which will guide you the store that already carry this product including the full line of Mr. Goudas Pastas.
If you are unable to find this particular pasta, do not substitute with another one of my products called Tai Tai Vermicelli, as it will not work. I will provide you with vermicelli recipes in another session.
Let us focus on our mission at hand.
2 or 3 onions (even the crying kind will be okay).
1 bunch of parsley and dill (if you like the taste.)
1 pound ground beef (or chicken or pork), salt, black pepper, Trinidad Style Hot Sauce, a 500 gr package of Mr. Goudas Pastitsioni, half a can of Crushed Tomatoes, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Make sure the label states that the Acidity level of less than 0.8% and the country where the olives are grown, produced and packaged).
To be on the safe side when it comes to extra virgin Olive Oil your best bet is to use the Mr. Goudas brand. For documentation as to why it is the best, click on this link.)
1 can of Mr. Wu Chicken Broth is optional.
I will not guarantee the final outcome of this recipe unless some of the above ingredients are under the Mr. Goudas label.
As a final touch, I recommend some Kalamata Olives, Feta Cheese and a couple slices of Italian bread.
By now you should know that if you plan to invite the guy in the picture for dinner, it would be advisable to hide the bread.
Our step by step photos will guide you through the process.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
Add Mr. Goudas Pastitsioni (500 gram package) and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Do not over cook because further cooking is done in the oven later.
In the photo you see a can of Chicken Broth with the brand name, Mr. Wu.
This is not a mistake.
The fact is that Orientals are the largest consumers of Chicken Broth.
This particular variety is one of the best with an exceptional taste and aroma and is a product under the Mr. Goudas umbrella.
Drain off excess water and set aside.
Place ground meat in frying pan, cover with water and bring to a boil, all the while breaking the meat into pieces.
Dice the onions as per photo.
Be careful not to cut your finger tips since they do not taste good in Pastitsioni.
Add chopped onions at the final stages of cooking the ground beef.
Should you add them too early, they will turn black and burnt.
Cut the parsley into small pieces and add to ground beef.
The boiling process creates a brown-coloured foam which is to be removed.
Stir occasionally for even cooking.
Once all the water has been evaporated,
add 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil and fry for a few minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes to the ground meat.
When I suggest crushed tomatoes, I do not mean any brand.
I specifically refer to the Mr. Goudas Crushed Tomatoes.
Mr. Goudas crushed tomatoes have been nominated by qualified experts as the best crushed tomatoes on the planet.
Add salt (preferably sea salt if by chance you already have some at home).
Add black pepper. Oops! I made a mistake. I took a photo of the French side of the label.
By the way, it is mandatory in Canada to incorporate both the English and French languages on food labels.
Add 1 teaspoon (or 2) of Mr. Goudas Trinidad Style Hot Sauce.
A word of caution, Trinidad Style Hot Sauce is very addictive and is my favourite.
It is not what you refer to as hot, hot.
It is full bodied and full of flavour.
It contains crushed peppers, papaya, celery, parsley, garlic, onions, etc., etc.
Stir the mixture to blend all the ingredients.
Yes, you may now lick your fingers in anticipation of the delectable results.
When the meat is cooked, pour it over the partially cooked pastitsioni.
Pour your creation into a rectangular baking tray, 10 x 15 inches in size.
Now is the time to make the cream topping.
In a pot or large frying pan, melt 100 - 150 grams of butter.
Add 1 and a half cups of all purpose flour.
Stir at a medium heat level until partly cooked, not burnt.
Add half a litre of 3.25% milk and 1 can of Mr. Goudas Evaporated Milk.
Beat 2 eggs yolks only and add to frying pan.
Stir well with a wooden spoon to blend all ingredients.
(Or you may simply use a blender.)
Evenly pour cream over the top of the pastitsioni and meatsauce.
Do not mix it in. It is a topping.
Cover with foil paper.
Ensure that the foil paper is longer and wider than the baking tray
to allow for proper folding over the edges.
This allows the steam created by the cooking to remain within the tray.
SUGGESTED COOKING TIME
30 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
After the 30 minutes, you are allowed to taste.
Should you feel that your dish is just about ready, then remove the foil paper and broil uncovered for an additional few minutes to achieve a beautiful colour as per the picture.
It is very important to pay close attention to the broiling process for the next few minutes to avoid your creation being burnt.
That would be a total disaster!
Once golden brown as per photo, turn off the oven and remove the tray.
Allow the Pastitsioni to sit for a couple hours before serving.
Should you try to eat it immediately after cooking it will fall apart.
I know you will be anxious to eat it right away but, resist the temptation.
It will be worth the wait.
Every portion of this dish is a mouth watering experience.
A word of caution. Be very careful because, after the first bite you will find yourself saying:
"Oh my God! This is the best pasta I ever tasted in my life."
Leftovers, if any, may be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.
Well, was this not an enjoyable experience? You should be proud.
Now go impress your friends!
I leave you with one thought:
I spent a lot of time creating this recipe.
Please enjoy it.
I would like to give credit to all my assistants who worked tirelessly along with me in creating and perfecting this delicious recipe. Their names are Niki Stamatakos, Bernadette Scott, and Analyn Sarmiento.
This is an afterthought. The name of our Oriental salesman is ROCK.
As I watched him, I noticed that after each bite he mumbled something in his language.
After several repititions, finally, I asked what he was saying since my Chinese is very rusty.
He suggested that he should write the whole phrase down for me. Therefore, I have posted his respone below:
For anyone who has a Chinese friend, please ask him/her to translate the above for you.
He also mentioned to me that he would like to have the exclusive distribution rights for Pastitioni and relocate his family to China.
He thinks that he could convince the Chinese population to purchase at least one package per year.
He gave a firm order of 1.5 billion packages of Pastionini, and further mentioned that he would finally become a STAR.
I then thought why not? Let us now re-name him ROCK STAR!
I also would like to mention before closing that the photos were taken some time in the past during Tavli (Backgammon) tournaments during which they lost 8 to 0.
As far as the photo of me, it is really, really me, very emotional at the passing of one of my beloved pets.
You may read my book titled, My Pets, Koukla, Irma, Tiger.
Spyros Peter Goudas
Σπύρος Πήτερ Γούδας