Pesto Greek Style!

Pesto is a fantastic herb sauce that can be used in many ways, but my favorite way of using it is in pasta. I always tend to have leftover pasta, so making a quick pesto to add more flavor and make a complete different dish the next day is the way to go.
Pesto is originally from Italy and usually is a combination of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. The way I have turned it into a Greek style pesto is by adding fresh Greek oregano, red pepper flakes and lemon juice.
The best way to make a pesto is using the most fresh ingredients! So this is what I did for my Greek style pesto:
– Ingredients –
1. Handful of fresh basil
2. Another small handful of fresh Greek Oregano
3. Juice from 1/2 a lemon
4. About 1/4 of a cup of pine nuts
5. 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese
6. A punch of salt, pepper & red pepper flakes
7. 1 clove of fresh garlic
8. Olive oil

– Assembly –
1. Start by adding to a food processor the basil, oregano, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper & red pepper flakes. Blend them until everything gets chopped up evenly.
2. Once everything gets chopped up nicely, while the processor is on, add a stream of olive oil until the mixture turns into a smooth sauce. It’s also a lot easier to mix into a pasta when it’s smoother and not chunky.

– Last night we had made some manestra, which is orzo, and got a rotisserie chicken (which can be your best friend on weeknights, very useful in many recipes). So for a lovely lunch today, this pesto turned yesterdays pasta in a chicken pesto pasta dish for lunch today! Don’t ever think of left-overs just as that terms describes them. You can easily take yesterdays food into something different the next day. Don’t ever get rid of left-over food!


Greek Pastichio

Greek Pastichio is one of my favorite dishes and we make it very often in our house. I love when my mom makes us some pastichio and I learned everything for this dish from her.
Yes, many describe this dish as, “the Greek lasagna”, but we got a whole different flavor profile in this dish. Definitely give this a try, you will love it! To see this video demo of this visit my Youtube page & hit subscribe: DespinasGreekEats
– Ingredients for the bechamel sauce –
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
Salt, pepper & fresh nutmeg
– Ingredients for the ground beef filling –
1 lb ground beef
1 onion mined finely
1 cup tomato sauce
Salt, pepper & olive oil
– Ingredients for the pasta filling –
1/2 package of Pastichio pasta (if you cannot find, you can use penne)
6 eggs
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt, pepper

*How to make the bechamel sauce*
1. In a pot melt the butter.
2. Add the flour slowly and once all is added keep stirring and cook for about 1 minute.
3. Add in the milk and stir until you get a slightly thick pouring consistency.
4. Add a big pinch of salt and pepper. Then grind in about 1/2 a tsp of fresh nutmeg.
*How to make the ground beef filling*
1. In a pan, pour about 1 tsp of olive oil and saute the onions until you start smelling them and they soften a little.
2. Add in the ground beef and cook until it browns.
3. Add in the tomato sauce, a pinch of salt and pepper and let the mixture cook down until there isn’t a lot of liquid left.
*How to make the pasta filling*
1. In a large pot, add water about 3/4 of the way up.
2. Once it boils, add a large pinch of salt.
3. Add the pasta in and cook for 11 minutes.
4. Strain the pasta and let it cool down for about 5 minutes.
5. Once the pasta has cooled slightly, add in the eggs, feta, a pinch of salt and pepper.
— Assembly —
1. In a baking dish, grease it and on the bottom add 4 sheets on filo dough.
2. Add the pasta filling over the filo dough.
3. Add the ground beef over the pasta.
4. Lastly, add the bechamel sauce as the top layer.
5. Bake in a 450 degree oven for about 50 minutes or until golden brown.