A delicious combination of roasted vegetables, pasta, and a creamy béchamel sauce.

| By Rachael Thompson | Recipes

Helena and Vikki Moursellas’ Roasted Capsicum and Eggplant Pastitsio

A delicious combination of roasted vegetables, pasta, and a creamy béchamel sauce.

Welcome to Put on a Spread, a recipe series that takes you inside the kitchens – and dining rooms – of some of our favourite home cooks. For this instalment, Sydney-based cookbook authors and twin sisters Helena and Vikki Moursellas share their recipe for a roasted pepper and eggplant pastitsio.

Ingredients

  • 2 (600g) medium red capsicums
  • ½ cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
  • 1 brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 (500g) large eggplant, chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 1 tbsp dried Greek oregano
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ cup (70g) tomato paste
  • 80g pickled mini golden peppers in brine, drained, chopped
  • 500g dried bucatini or Misko macaroni Greek pasta No.2

For the béchamel sauce

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (75g) plain flour, sifted
  • 4 cups (1L) milk
  • 50g Kefalograviera cheese, grated, plus extra to scatter
  • 3 egg yolks

Method

Preheat the oven 200°C/180°C fan-forced.

Place capsicum on a lined baking tray with baking paper, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil.

Roast for 30-40 minutes or until the skin has completely blistered and blackened.

Place into a bowl and cover tightly with cling wrap. Sit for 15 minutes.

Carefully remove skins and discard, thinly slice and set aside until needed.

Meanwhile, heat ½ cup (125ml) oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, cook onion for 8-10 minutes or until softened.

Add garlic, eggplant, and oregano and cook for a further 15 minutes stirring occasionally or until lightly caramelised.

Season with salt and pepper, add tomatoes and paste and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir through sliced red peppers and golden peppers and set aside.

Boil pasta according to the packet instructions.

Drizzle with remaining oil and set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 180°C.

To make the béchamel sauce

Place a saucepan over medium-low heat, add the butter and heat until melted, add flour and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

Pour in the milk and add cheese, and yolks and season with salt and pepper.

Whisk, until thick and silky.

Assembling

Grease a 34cm x 24cm (3L) ovenproof baking dish.

Lay half the pasta lengthways into the baking dish.

Top the pasta with ⅓ of the bechamel, followed by half the roasted pepper and eggplant sauce, followed by the remaining pasta, ⅓ of the bechamel and the remaining roasted pepper and eggplant sauce. Finish with bechamel sauce.

Scatter with extra cheese and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cheese is golden and melted.

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