Recipes » Main Dish Recipes » Pasta » Pastitsio

Pastitsio

Pastitsio is a layered, baked meat and pasta dish from Greek. Authentic recipes call for ground lamb and cinnamon in the sauce, but this version is adapted for our southern U.S. tastes.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
A traditional Greek recipe, this Pastitsio is adapted to more suit southern tastes. Layers of pasta and meat sauce topped with a creamy, cheesy bechamel. https://www.lanascooking.com/pastitsio/

A traditional Greek recipe, this Pastitsio is adapted to more suit southern tastes for a dinner the entire family will enjoy!

Just like every one of you, I sometimes can’t think of anything to cook. I get burned out and nothing sounds appetizing or interesting.

A traditional Greek recipe, this Pastitsio is adapted to more suit southern tastes. Layers of pasta and meat sauce topped with a creamy, cheesy bechamel. https://www.lanascooking.com/pastitsio/

When that happens, I almost always turn to pasta. You can do so much with a box of pasta and it appears in some form in every single cuisine I can think of.

This particular recipe, like many pasta recipes, comes from the Mediterranean area. Pastitsio, sometimes spelled pastichio, gets its name from the Italian pasticcio, a group of baked savory pies.

I’ve heard it said that Pastitsio is to Greece as lasagna is to Italy. It’s layers of tube shaped pasta and meat sauce with a creamy, cheesy white sauce over the top.

Authentic recipes for Pastitsio use ground lamb and a good amount of cinnamon in the meat sauce. Those are not my favorite flavors, so I just adapted it to more suit my southern tastes.

Instead of lamb I used ground beef and eliminated the cinnamon. I also added some extra cheese to the top. The changes gave me a bit more of an Italian flavor than Greek, but we enjoy it.

Maybe I shouldn’t even call this Pastitsio since I changed those basic flavors. So okay – this is “Pastitsio, Southern Style.” Whatever it’s called, it’s still delicious!

How to Make Pastitsio:

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta cooks, make the meat sauce.

Beef and onion cooking in a skillet.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the beef and onion and cook until the beef is no longer pink. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Drain off and discard the excess fat and return the pan to the heat.

Stir in the tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, oregano, and pepper. Stir until combined and heated through.

Assembling the pastitsio in a baking dish.

Spray a 9” square baking dish with cooking spray. Drain the pasta. Add half the pasta to the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half the Parmesan cheese. Layer the meat sauce over the pasta. Top with the remaining pasta. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Photo collage showing the steps to make the cheese sauce.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until smooth. Gradually add the milk. Bring the mixture to a gentle bowl and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat.

Break the egg into a small bowl and beat it lightly. Add a small amount of the hot butter-flour mixture to the beaten egg, beating constantly with a fork. Return the egg mixture to the butter-flour mixture in the pan and cook at a gentle boil, stirring constantly, for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining Parmesan cheese.

Pouring cheese sauce over the layered pastitsio in a baking dish.

Pour the sauce over the macaroni-beef layers in the baking dish. Sprinkle the shredded Italian blend cheese over the top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 4 large servings.

🧾 More Recipes You’ll Like

Have you tried this recipe? I’d really appreciate you giving it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card or in the comments section.
AND REMEMBER TO SIGN UP FOR MY FACEBOOK GROUP.
If you’d like to hang out with me and lots of other online Southern Comfort Food lovers, make sure to join my FREE PRIVATE Facebook group.

A traditional Greek recipe, this Pastitsio is adapted to more suit southern tastes. Layers of pasta and meat sauce topped with a creamy, cheesy bechamel. https://www.lanascooking.com/pastitsio/

Pastitsio

Pastitsio is a layered, baked meat and pasta dish from Greek. Authentic recipes call for ground lamb and cinnamon in the sauce, but this version is adapted for our southern U.S. tastes.
5 from 3 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 830kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni or other tube-shaped pasta
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt divided
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded Italian 6-cheese blend or grated mozzarella

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta cooks, make the meat sauce.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the beef and onion and cook until the beef is no longer pink. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Drain off the excess fat and return the pan to the heat.
  • Stir in the tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, oregano, and pepper. Stir until combined and heated through.
  • Spray a 9” square baking dish with cooking spray. Drain the pasta. Add half the pasta to the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half the Parmesan cheese. Layer the meat sauce over the pasta. Top with the remaining pasta. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until smooth. Gradually add the milk. Bring the mixture to a gentle bowl and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat.
  • Break the egg into a small bowl and beat it lightly. Add a small amount of the hot butter-flour mixture to the beaten egg, beating constantly with a fork. Return the egg mixture to the butter-flour mixture in the pan and cook at a gentle boil, stirring constantly, for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining Parmesan cheese.
  • Pour the sauce over the macaroni-beef layers in the baking dish. Sprinkle the shredded Italian blend cheese over the top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 830kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 186mg | Sodium: 1456mg | Potassium: 850mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1018IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 445mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

Share on Facebook Pin Recipe
Tried this recipe? Pin it for Later!Follow @LanasCookingBlog or tag #LanasCooking!

More Pastitsio Recipes …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




21 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have made this many times. It is fantastic! It may vary from the original Greek recipe but I love it.

  2. My goodness – I feel like you felt my desperate cry (in my head) for help! I’ve been looking for new ground beef recipes and look what showed up from you today. Thank you so much – it sounds delicious and we’ll be having it this weekend!

  3. I thawed out some lean ground sirloin for tonight, since I originally planned to make Salisbury Steaks w/Mushroom Gravy for dinner. After reading your recipe for Pastitsio (which arrived in my inbox this morning) I decided to give it a try. It sounds delicious, I have everything on hand. I will however, use whole grain Penne Rigate, since that’s what I have in my pantry. I’m very sure we’ll enjoy this dish.

      1. Hi Lana :-) I made the Pastitsio a couple of evenings ago, and it was fabulous! It was very tasty, and also E-Z to prepare. We all loved it, so I’ve already included it in my (dinner) rotation. I had some pitted Calamata olives, so I roughly chopped a small handful and sprinkled them over the top while the cheese was melting. What a delicious dish!!

  4. When you excised the cinnamon from pastitso you cut out the mama’s kiss from the dish. Cinnamon and oregano are Greek flavouring. Next time just make lasagna! I love pastitso; loathe lasagna.

    1. E.B.: If you read Lana’s entire post, you would have been aware of the fact that she ‘adopted’ the recipe to suit her ‘southern taste’. This may not be an authentic Greek recipe for Pastitsio, but I made Lana’s version last night, and it was scrumptious! But hey, if you like cinnamon…. by all means add it in! As for your comment regarding Lasagna, don’t put it down. Thousands of Lasagna recipes are downloaded every day , since it’s a very popular dish on all of the cooking blogs. If you don’t like it, don’t make it…. it’s as simple as that…. but don’t be SO RUDE to a seasoned cook who posted a delicious recipe.

  5. This was EXCELLENT! I love this Americanized version. 5 stars. Putting it in my tried and true file :) Been wanting to make homemade pastitsio for the longest time. Yours was the first one I tried – I hit the jackpot.

  6. Hi Lana, I know EXACTLY what you mean! We’ve had a cool summer … which means that September and October are gonna be beastly and like you I am totally ready for fall food!!! Having said that though – I could definitely go for Pastitsio Southern Style…. yum!!!

  7. I get that way when its really hot outside – I don’t want to grill because its too hot and I don’t want to waste the AC with the oven! So sandwiches are usually my go to.

    Love this dish! I think my hubs would love it too!

    1. I think I’m just tired of summer food, too. I’m starting to crave apples and pumpkins and soups and stews. Maybe that’s why I’m so uninspired right now!

  8. Ugh I’m the same way right now. Though I’m actually inspired, just too lazy by the time I get home from work. This looks so delicious!

    1. Maybe it’s just the time of year, but lately I just haven’t wanted to cook very much. I’m hoping cooler Fall weather will get me inspired again!