Pastitsio, Keto version that looked more like a pie, was published a bit more than two years ago. Well, it was just an attempt to bring back the flavour of the original Pastitsio. Unfortunately, the texture of thick spaghetti was simply impossible on Keto. But, with the discovery of egg tagliatelle, a Pastitsio with almost no carbs had to be ketonised!
As the name says, it’s a well-known Greek (and Italian) comfort food typically made with pasta, minced meat, béchamel, and cheese topping. Some think that it was inspired by Moussaka. For decades, Pastitsio was used for the purpose of enchanting tourists with Greek cuisine. But Pastitsio, the way it’s traditionally made, represents the unhealthiest approach to modern cooking!
Pastitsio comes from the Italian word Pasticcio, any type of savoury pie based on pasta with meat or seafood. Many Italian versions include a crust, some include béchamel. The word Pasticcio comes from the Latin word pastīcium derived from pasta and means “pie”. It’s very similar to lasagna.
Why is the original version of Pastitsio so unhealthy?
For those of you who don’t know much about Pastitsio, our previously published Keto version might have all the answers. Form the historical view, Mediterranean aspect and, of course, the problem of Béchamel. As we can conclude now, béchamel was invented during the shortage of cream. French chefs had to come up with a way to thicken the milk and continue using it where normally fresh cream or even sour cream would be used. Well, starch, the old way of turning food into a “concrete” for the guts was used here. In some versions just plain flour, but in most recipes – extracted corn starch. And then butter or margarine was added to give the illusion of cream. However, this is as unhealthy as it can be!
Imagine topping carb-loaded pasta with such starchy creation and also adding greasy minced meat sauce to make the amount of fats and carbs equal. This literally leads to all the problems humans face when their nutrition had the same amount of fat and carbs… But, Pastitsio tastes and feels heavenly! So, why don’t we try excluding those carbs and leave the protein and fat where it belongs? It’s not only about macros, but in this version, we’ll make sure micronutrients are well balanced too!
The new Greek Goes Keto flourless trend
Whatever can be Ketonised without adding flours (even Keto flours) will be our victory! We are still a foodie oriented website, but we want to take a next step in the process of ketonisation. In particular, our quest to make traditional recipes healthier. Our lifestyle and knowledge about KMD rapidly grow. By excluding flour, even almond and coconut flour, we will still be able to have the taste of childhood!
Why is this important? Well, some ketonians experience extremely bad symptoms when trying the standard dishes that they have been missing throughout their healing path. For them, and for everyone who believes that healthy can be delicious, our new Keto Pastitsio has been born!
The closest possible experience to traditional Pastitsio
After trying this version, we stayed amazed with the texture. In fact, we worried about the texture of egg noodles. Will they be able to support the heaviness of meat sauce and our Ketonised béchamel. After leaving the Keto Pastitsio to properly cool down, we were able to cut perfect portions and enjoy them the same way original Pastitsio is served. The egg-white based crepes cut into stripes, as we used it for tagliatelle creation, worked as a perfect base with no guilt! The texture came out as closest possible to the original Pastitsio! Maybe the egg-white crepes could have been a bit thicker to emulate the chewy effect of pasta! All in all, this was one of the best ketonisation of a traditional Greek dish we ever created.
Pastitsio with almost no carbsCourse: Main courseCuisine: Keto MediterraneanDifficulty: Medium
- Egg noodles
10 medium pasture-raised egg whites
30g (1 oz) melted butter
1 tsp mahlep powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
- Meat sauce
20g butter (we used sheep butter)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic
800g ( 28 oz)minced lamb or veal
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp red paprika powder (you can use smoked paprika)
4 bay leaves
1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon or 1 stick
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 gsp dried peppermint or thyme
1 tsp sea salt
- Keto béchamel
300g goat cream cheese (alternatively use mascarpone)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
40g (1,5 oz) grated Graviera (or similar semi-hard sheep or goat cheese)
- Separate the egg whites from yolks and leave one yolk with the whites. Whisk and add melted butter. Now, add sea salt and Mahlep powder.
- Cook 5 crepes out of this mixture using a crepe maker or a wide non-stick pan. Place them on a cutting board and let them cool down.
- Place olive oil and butter in a deep pan or saucepan and heat it. Add chopped garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes on medium temperature. Now add meat and all the spices except salt, oregano and black pepper. Stir with a wooden spoon and add a little bit of water. Let it cook for 5 minutes. Now add salt, oregano and black pepper. Remove from heat.
- Mix in 5 egg yolks and set it aside. Leave the rest of the yolks for the Ketonised Béchamel creation. Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick if you used it.
- Cut the crepes using a sharp knife into stripes, approximately 7 millimetres wide like in the photo.
- Grease a ceramic baking pan with some butter and place the egg noodles in it.
- Spread the meat sauce all over and even it with a spoon.
- Mix goat cream cheese (or mascarpone) with 4 remaining yolks and add nutmeg. Pour over the meat sauce.
- You can add the cheese now, but it might burn during baking so you can bake the Pastitsio for 15 minutes as it is, and then add grated cheese and return it to the oven. Bake until the cheese gets golden brown but make sure it doesn’t get too dark or burned. It takes around 25 minutes at 200ºC (400ºF) all together.
- Serve when it’s almost totally cooled down: This is crucial if you want to cut nice portions that resemble cake.
- Naturally, if you are not too much concerned about the carb or sugar content, you can add 1 tablespoon of tomato concentrated purée to the meat sauce.
- Ideally, you will cook a bit thicker crepes so that your noodles look more like pasta. This will also give the chewy texture.
- The reason we are using goat cream cheese is the type of easy-to-digest A2 casein and lesser amount of lactose in goat dairy
- Rosehip syrup can ideally replace tomato in this recipe.