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  • Writer's pictureJulie Mackin

A Labor of Love

Making Pastitsio from Ina Garten's Make It Ahead Cookbook

This blog was always intended to be about more than just books, I love to cook and travel, so I am hoping to include those more and more in this space.

I read this great article in the Financial Times at the beginning of January and the author was saying that instead of making new year’s resolutions, she makes herself a list of things to do that year (Article is here). In 2023 it was 23 things, so you know 24 for 2024. I thought that sounded like a really great idea, not asking yourself to do too much but to take bite size pieces of things. For 2024, my motto has been two fold: to take small bites and to just do it. The small steps are much less scary.

One of things I put on my list for 2024 was to cook something that scares me, whether that is with an ingredient I don’t use often, a dish I’m not sure I like, or a technique that I’m not totally comfortable executing. And in that vein, this past weekend, I made Pastitsio with a recipe from Ina Garten’s Make It Ahead cookbook. Ina never does me wrong and as I was nervous about making a bechamel sauce, I figured her recipe was the one to try.  This recipe can also be found on the Food Network's website (Pastitsio). I substituted pork for the lamb.

It all came out pretty damn good if I say so myself. The meat mixture is created using warm spices and has a rich, inviting aroma. The bechamel wasn't necessarily hard,it was something that needed constant whisking and a careful eye on the dairy so as to not burn it. Overall, it was delicious but it might be a once in a great while thing as it was pretty time consuming but since you could make it ahead, might be perfect for when you are having a crowd.

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