The recipes below partner with episodes on our new YouTube cooking series, Flippin’ Greek! ™, to show you how we do it in our kouzina. The link from each recipe to its YouTube episode will be active on the day of the week noted. Join us!
We flipped fettuccine Alfredo using a very Greek béchamel (μπεσαμέλ, pronounced beh-sah-MEHL), the essential foundation of a number of iconic dishes, including moussaka, pastitsio, and papoutsakia. In just 30 minutes you can have a luxurious meal in your own kouzina! This is a rich dish, so serve alongside a big salad or lots of veggies.
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 10 minutes
BAKING TIME: about 15 minutes
SERVINGS: 6 to 8
4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large egg yolks, beaten
3/4 cup grated kefalotyri cheese (or Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 pound penaki (or little penne/ziti), cooked according to package directions (do not overcook), drained
1. In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium-low heat until hot but not boiling. Set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Immediately and gradually add the flour, whisking constantly, until blended well and there are no lumps. Increase heat to medium-low and gradually whisk in the hot milk, continuing to whisk constantly until the sauce begins to thicken and is creamy. Vigorously whisk in the egg yolks until blended well. Stir in the cheese until combined well. Remove from heat and stir in the salt and pepper. (Can be made ahead. Cool, then transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate up to 3 days. Reheat, stirring, in the top of a double boiler when ready to use.)
3. Heat oven to 375°F. In a 9-by-13-inch ovenproof casserole dish, toss together the pasta and béchamel until combined well. Spread out evenly. Bake about 15 minutes, until golden around the edges. Serve hot.
“Tyro” is cheese and “boukia” is a bite, so think Mac ’n’ Cheese Bites but with Greek kefi! Try adding bacon or ham, or you can sophisticate this dish by swapping out the meat with 1/2 cup chopped cooked lump crabmeat, shrimp, or lobster. Aleppo pepper adds a nice kick, so use the lesser amount for mild or the greater amount for more heat.
KOUZINA TIP: The chilled pasta and cheese needs to be kept cold in the refrigerator until ready to cut, dip, and fry. It warms up quickly and will fall apart if left out too long.
PREP TIME: 30 minutes, plus chilling
COOKING TIME: about 30 minutes
MAKES: about 4 dozen
Extra-virgin olive oil, for coating pan
1 1/2 cups shredded kasseri cheese
1/2 cup grated kefalograviera cheese
1/3 cup crumbled Greek feta
2 cups cold milk, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 pound (about 2 cups) kofto pasta (looks like 1-inch long pastitsio noodles) or ziti cut into 1-inch pieces, cooked according to package directions (do not overcook), drained
1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon or chopped ham (optional)
4 large eggs
2 cups coarse breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (to taste)
Vegetable oil, for frying
1. Line a 9-by13-inch pan or casserole dish with parchment or foil and lightly brush with olive oil; set aside. In a large heatproof bowl, combine the cheeses; set aside. In a large saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups milk and the butter to a low boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a cup, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup milk and the cornstarch until dissolved (the cornstarch will settle to the bottom, so stir again just before adding to saucepan). Stir the milk-cornstarch mixture into the hot milk in the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly all the way to the bottom and sides of the saucepan, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over the cheeses. Stir until smooth. Gently stir in the pasta and bacon/ham (if using) until combined and coated well.
2. Spoon the pasta mixture into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Cover tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight (keep refrigerated until ready to cut and dip). (Can be made up to 3 days ahead.)
3. In a bowl, whisk the eggs. In another bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment; set aside.
4. Invert the cold pasta-and-cheese onto a cutting board and peel off the parchment. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1 1/2-inch squares.
5. Dip the squares in egg, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl, then coat completely in breadcrumb mixture. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet until all the squares are coated.
6. Line a wire rack with paper towels. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat about 1/4 inch of oil until hot but not smoking. Cook the bites, a few at a time (don’t overcrowd), turning occasionally, until crisp and golden brown on all sides, about 4 minutes total (if cooking in a deep fryer, cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes). Transfer to prepared rack and let drain until cooled slightly. Serve very warm. (Can be made up to 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature and reheat in a 350°F oven on a rack set over a baking sheet, about 5 minutes.)
Jarred pasta sauce and canned tomatoes have met their flip! This dish is all about fresh ingredients, like roasted tomatoes, garlic, and Greek cheese! Simple, delicious, and quick. For a sauce this good, you need a pasta that can do it justice. We went with frozen cavatelli pasta—similar to homemade Karpathian makarounes, and in some areas, easier to find. Or you can make your own!
KOUZINA TIP: Cook the pasta the last few minutes of the baking time so that it’s hot when tossing with the tomatoes.
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
BAKING TIME: 30 to 40 minutes
SERVINGS: 3 to 4 main / 6 first course
10 plum tomatoes, sliced and drained
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus sprig for garnish
4 to 5 cloves garlic, crushed
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch Aleppo pepper
1/2 cup grated kefalograviera cheese (or Parmigiano-Reggiano), plus more for serving
12 ounces (3/4 lb) frozen makarounes (or cavatelli) pasta, cooked according to package directions, drained
1. Heat oven to 375°F. In a large baking pan, spread the tomato slices out, drizzle with olive oil, and top evenly with basil, garlic, and season with salt and peppers. Top evenly with cheese. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until tomatoes are softened.
2. Using a fork, mash the tomatoes, then, in a large serving bowl, toss with the hot pasta. Garnish with a basil sprig, if desired, and serve immediately with additional cheese on the side.
Orzo (kritharaki), grilled eggplant or zucchini, tomatoes, feta, olives, and fresh mint flip a typical pasta salad on its ear, giving it a new Greek life. Get ready to wow your taste buds!
KOUZINA TIP: Look for thin eggplant or zucchini, as they will have fewer seeds. Grill the veggie ahead and let it cool to room temperature before preparing the salad. Sprinkling the eggplant with salt beforehand and letting it stand a few minutes removes any bitterness from the vegetable.
PREP TIME: 15 minutes plus standing
COOKING TIME: 5 minutes
SERVINGS: 4 to 6
1 small eggplant, peeled, or 2 thin zucchini
Sea salt (for eggplant)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound orzo, cooked according to package directions, drained
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup crumbled Greek feta, divided
1/4 cup sliced pitted kalamata and/or Greek green olives, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, plus sprig for garnish
1. Cut the eggplant or zucchini into 1-inch cubes. If using eggplant, transfer to a paper towel-lined tray, sprinkle with salt, and let stand 10 minutes. Lightly brush the vegetable with olive oil and grill over medium heat (or roast at 400°F), turning occasionally, until golden and softened, about 5 minutes.
2. In a large serving bowl, toss together the eggplant or zucchini, orzo, tomatoes, 1/4 cup feta, 3 tablespoons olives, the parsley, mint, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. (Can be made ahead. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.) Sprinkle the top of the salad with the remaining 1/4 cup feta, 1 tablespoon olives, and garnish with a mint sprig, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipes copyright © Kukla's Kouzina
I hope you enjoyed our week of Pasta flips. Join us next week for Salads—four flips to open your holiday menus, Greek style!
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Kali orexi! Good appetite!
ABOUT Kukla’s Kouzina Flippin’ Greek! ™
Flippin’ Greek! ™ is our brand new cooking series on YouTube and the next exciting chapter in our kouzina. It’s four episodes a week, Monday through Thursday, featuring familiar non-Greek recipes we flipped to Greek-island style using ingredients and cooking techniques found in Karpathos. Each episode runs 2 to 15 minutes, the perfect length for viewers to quickly learn how to recreate foods and beverages/cocktails right alongside us.
The ingredients used in Greek-island cuisine is what sets this style of cooking apart from standard Greek fare, giving meals a fresh take that keeps them interesting. Karpathos, the home of Kukla’s Kouzina, has its own unique style, and we’ll show you how to take common dishes and reinvent them into Karpathian versions with our simple substitutions.
Many think that everyday Greek cooking is made up of dishes like spanakopita (spinach pie), moussaka, and pastitsio. These are classics for sure, but too time-consuming to make on a regular basis. During our time in Karpathos, we learned that the locals’ quick meals made from the island’s staples like fresh vegetables, fruit, herbs, spices, and protein, prepared using certain methods, came out tasting Greek-island delicious. So we thought this would be a great way to bring our hometown flavor into YOUR kouzina, adding some spicy variety to your life while keeping it simple and fast. Recipes for each week will be posted right here on our blog with links to the episodes.
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