This half pastitsio-half mousaka recipe, is deliciously meaty, with a beautiful parsley and basil kick! Makes a really tasty family dish!

Serves: Preparation time: 20′ Cooks in: 1h + 25′ Ready in: 1h + 45′

For the pastitsio:
4 large eggplants
extra virgin olive oil
500 gr penne pasta
1 egg, beaten
75gr Parmesan, finely grated
salt, freshly ground black pepper

For the mince:
700 gr lean beef mince
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, grated
½ cup red wine
400 gr tinned tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup parsley, leaves picked, finely chopped
½ cup fresh basil, leaves picked, finely chopped
salt, freshly ground black pepper

For the yogurt béchamel:
1 kg Greek yogurt 2%
3 eggs, beaten
extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Parmesan, finely grated
salt, freshly ground black pepper

Step 1
For the eggplants: Slice eggplants widthwise, lay on a baking dish lined with parchment, brush with oil and bake for 40 minutes in a preheated oven at 200C, until tender.

Step 2
Meanwhile boil penne pasta al dente (5 minutes) in a large pan with water and salt. Drain. Drizzle with a little oil in a bowl and mix with egg and grated cheese.

Step 3
Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan on a medium heat. Add minced meat and onion and cook until the meat is browned all over. Season well with salt and pepper and when liquid evaporates from the pan, stir in tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, oregano and sugar. Increase the heat to medium-high, pour the wine and let alcohol evaporate, stirring with a wooden spoon. Bring to the boil, reduce to a gentle simmer and cover with lid. Cook for 35-40 minutes stirring occasionally, until you have a rich, thick sauce. Check the seasoning. When meat is cooked, stir in chopped parsley and basil. Add a little Parmesan if you like and stir. Remove from heat.

Step 3
For the yogurt béchamel: Mix well yogurt with eggs, olive oil, most of the cheese and season well with salt and pepper.

Step 4
Take a medium oven-proof baking dish and make a first layer with eggplants, then with penne, repeat with a second layer with eggplants and penne, cover all ingredients with mince, pour over the yogurt bechamel, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake at 180C/fan for 35-40 mins until golden brown on top. Leave to cool for 5 mins before serving.

Photo – Food styling Antonia Kati