This easy Greek pastitsio (pastichio) recipe is one of my all time favourite comfort foods. It’s the Greek version of lasagne with pasta, minced (ground) beef and lovely creamy white sauce. Seriously, what’s not to like in this plateful of aromatic goodness.
Whats to love about this Greek recipe
- This Greek lasagna turns store cupboard ingredients into something really special.
- The taste – this pastitsio will transport you straight to the gorgeous Greek islands when you taste the fabulous flavours in this simple mince and pasta dish.
- This is an easy recipe for pastichio, it’s pasta, mince, sauce and bake and you can do all this ahead of time.
Pastitsio, or pastichio is almost as popular as the famous moussaka of Greece. It is a rich mixture of aromatic minced beef with luxuriously creamy bechamel sauce and of course pasta.
Pastitsio is sometimes called Greek macaroni and meat pie or Greek lasagna. It is real old fashioned comfort food and holds so many memories for me.
What type of pasta do you use for pastitsio?
Traditionally pastitsio is made using Bucatini pasta. That’s a pasta that looks rather like very wide sticks of spaghetti but with a hole right down the middle so that the sticks of pasta are actually long tubes.
Alas, this sort of pasta is not readily available in our local supermarkets here in Scotland so if I haven’t got my supply from visiting Crete I just use macaroni or penne pasta instead for my pastitsio recipe.
Ingredients for pastitsio
This Greek lasagna recipe doesn’t have a lot of complicated ingredients. It is store cupboard cooking and you’ve probably got everything in the kitchen already.
Basically you are going to be making a minced beef in tomato sauce, a creamy white bechamel sauce and boiling up some pasta. Then let the oven do the work for you.
The complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this recipe can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
What spices are used in pastitsio?
Pastitsio is packed with flavour. Greek cooking uses spices not for heat but for deep and aromatic flavour
This simple pastichio recipe takes mince to a whole new level. I use cinnamon, cloves, a bay leaf and of course salt and pepper to make up my pastitsio spice blend and this really packs a punch.
How to make pastitsio
This is a three step recipe, but don’t worry, each step to making this Greek macaroni pie is super easy.
I like to make my beef mince and tomato sauce first.
Brown the mince first then remove from pan while you saute the onion for a few minutes then add the garlic for just a minute before throwing in the browned mince plus the other ingredients for the beef and tomato part of this pastitsio recipe.
Creamy white sauce
I don’t use the traditional bechamel sauce in my pastitsio. I go for a slightly lighter version of this classic white sauce. Using a milk and Greek yogurt combo (you can even make your own Greek style yogurt with this easy recipe) instead of all milk.
You would normally use Greek Kefalotiri cheese, but that isn’t readily available out here in the Scottish countryside.
How to prepare pasta for pastitsio
Whether you are using the traditional bucatini pasta for your pastitsio or simply penne or macaroni pasta there is a really simple way of preparing it for your Greek lasagne recipe.
Boil the pasta till it is just al dente. Don’t overcook it as your pastitsio is going in the oven to bake so the pasta will cook some more.
Once you have boiled and drained the pasta toss it with egg white and feta. This not only adds amazing flavour to your pastitsio but helps to hold the pasta together when it comes to slicing the pastitsio for serving.
How to layer pastitsio
First start with your bocatini pasta (or other pasta) mixed with the feta and egg white. Try to lay it out in straight lines on the base of your baking dish.
Now top this pasta layer with your beef and tomato sauce mixture.
Finally top with the bechamel sauce and sprinkle on more cheese.
Bake your pastitsio in the oven for about 40 minutes till it is gorgeous and golden.
How to serve pastitsio
Simply sprinkle your Greek pasta bake with a lilttle fresh parsley and you are ready to serve it. Pastitsio is traditionally served in squares.
I like to serve this Greek lasagna with a Greek salad on the side. In Greece you will often find pastitsio being served with chips but you really don’t need any extra carbs as this traditional greek pasta dish is filling enough on its own.
Can you make pastitsio ahead of time?
Of course you can, simply make your pastitsio and cover the dish with clingfilm and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours before you are going to cook it.
Can you freeze pastitsio?
Yes, simply save any leftovers in a freezer-proof box and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly and make sure it is piping hot when you serve your pastitsio.
Looking for some more Greek recipes to try, then check these out;
Vegetarian stuffed aubergine/eggplant
Traditional Greek Stifado beef stew
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Easy Greek pastitsio recipe
Meat and tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 500 g minced beef or lamb or mix of both
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 400 g tinned tomatoes
- 1 beef stock cube
- 75 ml red wine
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon ground
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
- 50 g Kefalotiri or parmesan cheese grated
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
Bechamel sauce mix
- 25 g butter
- 30 g flour
- 200 ml milk
- 100 ml Greek yogurt
- 1 egg yolk beaten (save the white for the pasta)
- 50 g Kefalotiri or parmesan cheese grated
- 1 pinch nutmeg grated
- 200 g bucatini pasta or penne or macaroni
- 50 g feta crumbled
- 1 egg white
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gs4 and grease a baking dish
- Heat oil in pan and brown the mince then tip this on to a plate while you saute the onion for 3 mins then add the garlic for 1 more minute.
- Return mince to the pan and add all the other ingredients for the meat and tomato sauce and simmer for 20 minutes
- Melt butter in a pan and stir in the flour.
- Mix the milk with Greek yogurt and the egg yolk and stir this into the sauce along with nutmeg, seasoning and cheese
- Boil the pasta till just al dente and drain then toss with the feta and egg white
Layering up the pastitsio
- Start with the pasta on the bottom of your baking dish then cover with the meat sauce and top with the bechamel sauce and finish with some more cheese
- Bake for 30-40 minutes till golden on top then sprinkle with parsley to serve
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