Pasticho (Venezuelan Lasagna)

pasticho (12 of 13)

Pasticho (Pasticho Venezolano) is the Venezuelan version of lasagna. Venezuelan cuisine has been greatly influenced by the Europeans (notably Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese). It actually follows Italy’s lead as the second highest country for pasta consumption. There are a couple of differences to distinguish it from the Italian version. Instead of ricotta cheese, the pasta is covered with a creamy bechamel sauce. The tomato meat sauce is also seasoned with soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Occasionally, ham is added to the layers.

pasticho

This is best made in a deep 9×13 inch baking dish. For the photos, I divided the ingredients between an 8×8 inch and a smaller baking dish. I cut the noodles to fit the pan. My first layers of pasta only included 3 noodles, but I would layer with 4-5 in the future. I had a few leftover and would have liked a bit more pasta in the dish.

Once out of the oven, let the lasagna rest for a few minutes to settle before slicing and serving. This will keep you from completely burning the roof of your mouth from all of the bubbly cheese and will keep the lasagna from completely falling apart. I waited 10 minutes and the layers still slid a little.

pasticho (13 of 13)

Pasticho (Venezuelan Lasagna)

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

1 (9x13 inch) casserole

Pasticho (Venezuelan Lasagna)

Ingredients

Meat Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground beef

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 (28 ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 cup red wine or beef stock

Bechamel Sauce:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup all purpose flour

4 1/2 cups milk

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

For assembling:

1 pound dried lasagna noodles

10 ounces Mozzarella cheese, divided

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

In a large saucepan, drizzle olive oil over medium low heat. Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften and become translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Crumble in the beef, breaking apart the pieces with a spoon. Mix in the soy sauce and worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Mix in the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, bay leaf, sugar, and red wine. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, 30-45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Remove the bay leaf.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and cook until almost al dente, nearly tender. They will cook further in the oven. Drain.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat. Once melted, whisk in flour until golden and bubbling. Increase heat to medium. Slowly whisk in milk and continue to stir until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and parmesan. Remove from heat once smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish with a thin layer of the bechamel sauce. Top with a layer of the lasagna noodles. Spread with a layer of 1/3rd of the meat sauce. Cover with a second layer of pasta. Spread about 1 cup of the bechamel sauce over the pasta, top with 1/3rd of the Mozzarella cheese, and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Cover with another 1/3rd of the meat sauce, then 1 cup of the bechamel sauce, 1/3rd of the Mozzarella, and 2 tablespoons of parmesan. Add remaining meat sauce and final layer of pasta. Cover with remaining bechamel sauce, then remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan.

Cover baking dish with foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until cheese is bubbly and beginning to turn golden, 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Adapted from About.com

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