One of my favorite dishes is Pasticho Venezolano. The beef, the pasta, and the cheese… what’s not to like? Venezuelan Pasticho is a little different than your regular lasagna. The main difference is that Venezuelan Pasticho doesn’t include ricotta cheese, and to me that is PERFECT, because I don’t care for ricotta. Our Pasticho is plain and simple, but that is what I love about it, you can appreciate all the flavor of the seasoned ground beef, the mozzarella and the pasta without any one of them overpowering the other, like ricotta does. We do make it creamier and more interesting by adding layers of béchamel sauce. YUM!
What you need:
- 1 or 2 boxes of lasagna pasta
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Sliced Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 lb. Ground Beef
- ½ Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- ½ Tablespoon Soy Sauce
- ½ Tablespoon Adobo
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Onion
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1 28 oz can of cut tomatoes, peeled
- 2 Tablespoons Red or White Wine
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Oregano
- 1 Tablespoon Cilantro
- 1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
- 1 Teaspoon Basil
- 2 Tablespoon Butter
- 2 Tablespoon Flour
- 1 1/3 Cup Milk, hot
- 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/8 Teaspoon Pepper
1. Spice up the ground beef with the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and adobo. Set aside.
2. Add the butter and olive oil in a pan and heat it up just a bit until butter is melted. Then add the onion and garlic, finely chopped, and cook until golden brown. About 4 minutes.
3. On a separate pan begin to brown the ground beef. Remember to drain the excess oil when done.
4. Blend the tomatoes using a blender or food processor.
5. Add the tomatoes, wine, salt, pepper, oregano, and finely chopped cilantro to the onions and garlic.
6. Combine the meat with the tomato mixture.
7. Add the tomato paste (diluted in water as directed on the can), and then add the basil as well.
8. Continue to cook at low heat, covered, for a while until the sauce reduces and thickens. If it is too dry, you can add more tomato paste, but don’t add water or the sauce will bee too thin.
9. In a small pot, heat up the butter.
10. Add the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Lower the heat.
11. Beating with a whisk, begin to slowly add the hot milk.
12. Add salt and pepper, and a touch of nutmeg if you wish.
13. Cook until it thickens and set aside.
Cooking the Pasta
14. Follow the instructions on the box of the pasta.
15. Some pasta boxes state that you can cook them directly in the oven. I prefer to boil the pasta first, even if the box says you do not need to do so. Boil the pasta as you would any other pasta. Boil enough water, add a bit of salt and olive oil, then add the pasta into the pot and cook until tender. You can leave the pasta “al dente” so that they can finish cooking up in the oven.
16. Lay the pasta flat on a baking sheet, separated so they wont stick to one another.
Making the Pasticho
17. Preheat the oven at 350º.
18. Grease a 19” x 13” Pyrex with butter.
19. Begin by making a layer of pasta so that there are no spaces left between them at the bottom of the Pyrex.
20. Add Béchamel sauce on top of the pasta.
21. Add a layer of the beef filling.
22. Add a layer of Parmesan cheese. You can add a layer of ham if you wish.
23. Repeat: Layer of pasta, layer of béchamel sauce, layer of beef filling, but now add a layer of Mozzarella.
27. Serve with tostones, garlic breadsticks and salad (Great Salad recipe coming up next week).