Friday, May 11, 2012

Stout Braised Buffalo Pastitsio with Black Truffles

I always look forward to occasions where I can feed lots of people - excuses to make huge casserole dishes like pastitsio and moussaka. I threw a Greek Spring themed dinner party a few weeks ago and twisted this Greek classic around using buffalo meat instead of the traditional lamb/beef. In my celebration of massive, shaggy, grass grazing bovids, I  braised the buffalo meat in Bison Brewing's Organic Chocolate Stout, instead of the usual wine. I didn't stray too much from the rest of the traditional pastitsio ways, although I used Argentinian parmesan instead of kefalotyri because I was easily sold by the Whole Foods cheese monger. Since it was a celebration demanding decadence, I shaved an Oregon black truffle on top of the fresh out of the oven casserole. There are so many recipes for pastitsio out there, but I based this one off of Peter's recipe, writer of an amazing Greek food blog, Kalofagas. I noticed my layering is different than other written versions, but I am following my Aunt Mary's version. 

Buffalo Pastitsio

Adapted from Kalofagas

Meat sauce
3 lbs ground buffalo
1/4 cup olive oil
2 red onions
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bottle stout beer (I used Bison Brewing Chocolate Stout)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 bay leaves

1 package bucatini noodles (can use penne)
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs
1/2 cup kefalotyri (or salty, semi-hard cheese)

Bechamel Sauce
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
6 cups whole milk
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated kefalotyri cheese, or some sort of semi-hard salty cheese (I used Argentinian parmesan in this case)
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Meat Sauce

  • Saute onions in olive oil until soft and translucent, add garlic, bay leaves and ground meat and brown on high heat. 
  • Add tomato paste, beer, tomatoes and oregano and bring to a boil, then reduce until sauce thickens. Add cinnamon. 

Boil noodles in a large pot of salted water for about 10 minutes.

Bechamel Sauce

  • In a large sauce pan, melt butter on medium heat. When melted add flour and stir with a wooden stick for about 5 minutes until golden brown. 
  • Slowly pour milk into roux, stirring constantly with a whisk to squash any forming lumps.
  • Go back to stirring with a wooden spoon and bring bechamel sauce to a boil on medium heat.
  • Continue stirring until sauce thickens, or sauce coats back of wooden spoon.
  • Take bechamel off heat and slowly stir in eggs. 
  • Stir in 3/4 cup cheese and nutmeg (save rest of cheese for topping). 
  • Cover and reserve for assembly.


  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Add noodles to large casserole dish/roasting pan. Crack two eggs and sprinkle 1/2 cup grated cheese on top of noodles and mix with clean hands.
  • Pour meat sauce on top on noodles.
  • Pour bechamel sauce on top and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.
  • Bake for about 1 hour, or until golden brown on top. 
  • Let set about 30 minutes before cutting in. 


Magda said...

I had to do a double take when I saw that title. Buffalo pastitsio with black truffles. Wow girl, you really outdid yourself here. What a pastitsio!

Peter M said...

Ground buffalo meat with work fab with Pastitsio...even though you glosed over my version for you aunt's! :P Looks delish.

Esi said...

Um, WOW! Buffalo Pastitsio sounds amazing on it's on, but then you braise it in stout and add truffles. Holy cow!

mia xara said...

Wow,Anna!This Pastitsio is different indeed!It DOES look delicious!!:)

Helen said...

What a thing of beauty!!! Bravo, me 'gia ta heria sou :)

elly said...

Yeah, this is awesome. When are we putting together our Greek fusion cookbook? :)

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Drool! Anna...I am so in love with this recipe. I want to make it like now!

Banana Wonder said...

Magda - Nothin wrong with getting jiggy with it :-)

Peter M - Haha, Oh, Peter, I have my commitments you know.

Esi - Totally kept the cow holy in this one.

Mia Xara - Efxaristw!

Helen - Aw, thanks! I thought I overcooked it.

Elly - I am game! Does that mean you have to move to the W. Coast?

Peter G - Make it better than mine, please!

Trevor Sis Boom said...

I really need you to cook for me. I will learn a lot and eat incredibly!