Slow Days: Pastitsio

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

My friend Nick, a pure Greek-American from the Greek neighborhoods of Manchester, NH, called pastitsio ‘Greek macaroni and cheese.’ If your mac&cheese is in a rut, try this variation — it is really good. And don’t even think of telling Nick’s mom that pastitsio originated in Italy!

Ground lamb meat, onion, tomatoes, cinnamon, Greek oregano, butter [not the entire stick], elbow macaroni — here is the basis of Pastitsio. The oregano and cinnamon tell you how Greek it is. Nick always wondered how the early Greeks got tomatoes, but he was willing to give that a pass….

Pastitsio Sauce + Casserole
1 cup chopped onion
½ pound ground lamb
Saute onion and meat in a heavy saucepan while stirring sometimes until the meat is brown and the onions are golden.
1 cup crushed or whole tomatoes
1½ tsp salt freshly ground pepper
1 tsp Greek oregano
1½ tsp cinnamon
Stir in these ingredients and simmer 5 mins.
½ cup Gruyere cheese, gratedStir in the cheese and taste for seasonings.
3 oz elbow macaroniCook the elbows. Stir them into the tomato sauce and turn the mixture into an oil-sprayed 1-Qt casserole.
Salsa BesamelTop with salsa besamel and bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

The meat sauce is combined with cooked pasta and then you prepare a besamel…..

The salsa besamel goes on top. Milk thickened with a butter-flour mixture, grated cheese and egg all combine in a sauce that is poured on top of the pasta and sauce prior to baking.

Salsa Besamel
2 Tbsp butter Melt butter in a saucepan. Take off heat.
1 Tbsp flour
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
1 cup milk
Stir in flour, salt, and pepper, then add the milk gradually and stirring all the time. Put on low heat and stir for 5 minutes.
1 egg yolk
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese
Beat together in a small bowl, then slowly add the warm white sauce and stir constantly.
Baked to a golden turn.

Serve with Winter Vegetables, as seen here, or with a Greek Salad, Pastitsio makes for a hearty mid-Winter meal. Delicious.