posted in Dinner at 6

Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)

This recipe for traditional Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna) is the perfect way to celebrate the debut of the movie: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, opening in theaters nationwide on March 25th!  Today’s post is being sponsored by Universal Pictures.

Pastitsio

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Did you see My Big Fat Greek Wedding… the first one?  Of course you did, right?  Well movie #2 is coming out next week, so it might be fun to celebrate by making a big fat Greek dinner for your family!  Pastitsio is a favorite traditional Greek dinner recipe.  It’s a Greek version of lasagna- characterized by a white and creamy bechamel sauce used in place of marinara and a hint of cinnamon.

Pastitsio Prep

Layers are as follows:  noodles tossed in egg are topped with Greek cheese, then a generous layer of meat sauce, then more noodles and cheese, and then a layer of the bechamel sauce and more cheese!

Pastitsio Recipe

It’s baked for 40 to 45 minutes, blending all of those layers together to create a fabulous meal.

Pastitsio Recipe - RecipeGirl.com

The best tip I received about making Pastitsio is to make it early in the morning (or the night before), and then warm up individual slices when ready to eat.  You certainly don’t have to make it this way, just know that the pasta dish will be more “loose” and will not likely cut into neat squares as you see in the photos here.  It will be tremendously delicious either way you decide to make it!

Pastitsio Recipe from RecipeGirl.com

I do love how the layers are clearly seen in the slices.  They’re a little mesmerizing.

My family LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this recipe.  The bechamel sauce is a welcome change over the usual marinara, the hint of cinnamon in the meat layer is an interesting addition, and the Greek cheese connecting all of the layers is delicious!  Bring on the movie!

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

If you saw the first Big Fat Greek Wedding, I’m sure you remember this famous line!

ABOUT THE MOVIE
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 – In Theaters March 25, 2016

Gold Circle Entertainment and HBO present a Playtone production of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, the long-awaited follow-up to the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time.  Written by Academy Award® nominee Nia Vardalos, who stars alongside the entire returning cast of favorites, the film reveals a Portokalos family secret that will bring the beloved characters back together for an even bigger and Greeker wedding.

One of my good friends from college came from a Greek family.  I remember she felt HUGE PRESSURE to date ONLY GREEK guys.  Her family was very concerned about her marrying a Greek boy.  It helped me understand the movie, lol!

I’m absolutely thrilled to see so many of the same actors in #2.  I can’t wait to see the new movie- how about you??

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)

Ingredients:

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart whole milk, warmed until hot
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs

Main dish:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 pounds 90% lean ground beef
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 12 to 16 ounces Kasseri or Kefalotiri cheese, grated (see notes below)

Directions:

  1. Prepare the bechamel sauce:  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Whisk in the flour and then gradually whisk in the hot milk.  Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is smooth and thickened.  Stir in the salt, remove from heat and let cool.  When the sauce is lukewarm, whisk in the eggs.  Set aside.
  2. Prepare the meat layer:  Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet.  Add the onions and saute until softened and golden.  Crumble the beef into the skillet and cook with the onions until the beef is browned.  Stir in the cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Stir in the water and tomato paste, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Set aside.
  3. Prepare the pasta layer:  Cook ziti according to directions on the package.  Drain and rinse with cool water.  When pasta has cooled down, stir in the beaten eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a deep 9x13-inch casserole dish with nonstick spray.  You really need a deep casserole dish for this recipe (deeper than the usual 9x13-inch pyrex).
  5. Assemble the dish:  Scoop half of the pasta into the bottom of your prepared dish.  Sprinkle generously with cheese.  Spoon on the meat mixture to create an even layer; sprinkle with another layer of cheese.  Scoop the remaining pasta on top of the meat and sprinkle with more cheese!  Top with the cream sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake 45 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and golden on top.  Let sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving (but it is suggested that you refrigerate to let the layers set... and then warm up later to serve).
*Whole Foods carries Kasseri cheese- or check a specialty cheese shop.  If you have trouble locating Greek cheeses, you can sub Parmesan.
SOURCE:  RecipeGirl.com (traditional recipe shared from a Greek family)

29 Responses to “Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)”

  1. postedMar 18, 2016 5:21 AM
    Rachel King

    I love this dish, and already have a similar recipe.  But I wanted to tell you how beautiful your baking dish is!  We love your recipes and posts, thanks for all you do!!

  2. postedMar 18, 2016 6:02 AM
    Liz

    Looks and sounds delicious. Thank you.

  3. postedMar 18, 2016 7:55 AM

    OMG I LOVE Pastitsio!!!  This looks amazing!

  4. postedMar 18, 2016 3:17 PM

    Oooh man this looks so good! Every time I eat Greek food I think to myself, Why don’t I eat more Greek food. And I LOVE my big fat greek wedding, can’t wait to see the next one!! That lamb quote is totally my favorite!

  5. postedMar 18, 2016 6:00 PM

    Yes please! This looks great and I love the alternative to the traditional lasagna.

  6. postedMar 19, 2016 9:47 AM

    I am SO excited for this movie! And this pastitisio looks great! I’ve only ever had it once but your version looks so much better! 

  7. postedMar 19, 2016 12:30 PM

    What yummy comfort food! Pretty presentation too!

  8. postedMar 19, 2016 4:38 PM

    I love this! Especially the cinnamon…..it must add an amazing twist of flavor!

  9. postedMar 19, 2016 7:25 PM

    I absolutely loved the first Big Fat Greek Wedding movie and can’t wait to see the second one! This would be the perfect pre-movie dinner!

  10. postedMar 20, 2016 7:32 AM

    Pastitsio is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods! LOVE this recipe!

  11. postedMar 20, 2016 8:20 PM

    This looks so delicious!  I haven’t had it IN YEARS!  Can’t wait to make it at home! 

  12. postedMar 21, 2016 10:24 AM

    You are soooo right, the layers are mesmerizing! Definitely worth it to make it advance for that show stopping presentation.

  13. postedMar 21, 2016 4:15 PM

    This lasagna looks and sounds amazing!! I could eat this all day every day! I don’t think I’ve ever watched my big fat greek wedding #1. Isn’t that bad? I need to watch the first then the second. I would totally make this for dinner and binge watch movies. 🙂 

    • postedMar 21, 2016 6:07 PM

      yes, you need to catch up!!

  14. postedMar 23, 2016 10:52 AM
    Michelle

    I don’t know which I love more – the movie or the pastitsio!!

  15. postedMar 28, 2016 6:55 PM

    My local diner makes a fabulous pastitsio but I’ve never made it before. Thanks for the recipe!

  16. postedApr 24, 2016 1:12 PM
    Melissa

    Thanks for sharing! Can I ask where the baking dish is from?

    • postedApr 29, 2016 5:15 AM

      My Mother-in-Law got that for me… I believe it was part of a set that she ordered from one of the shopping channels!

  17. postedApr 25, 2016 2:46 PM
    Kasandra

    I have made this recipe and it was delicious and was a huge hit. I also have a vegetarian recipe and it’s just as good.

  18. postedJun 28, 2016 12:44 PM
    Leah Douglas

    Hi there. Can you tell me if this recipe freezes well?

    Thanks!

    • postedJun 29, 2016 5:07 AM

      I have not tried freezing it, so I’m not sure!

  19. postedOct 26, 2016 6:31 PM
    Nicole

    You mention that it’s best to refrigerate to let the flavor set and then reheat. How long and at what temperature would you recommend for reheating? Thank you!

    • postedOct 28, 2016 9:12 AM

      Reheat it at 350 degrees F, for about a half hour covered with aluminum foil, then uncover and put back in the oven for another half hour or so. Or you can microwave individual slices, of course.

  20. postedJan 8, 2017 7:09 AM

    It seems like some greek oregano would be a good addition to the meat sauce. I use lamb rather than beef; I think it makes the dish more authentic, if you can get ground lamb.

  21. postedJan 13, 2017 6:53 AM
    Mika Garnett

    We had a “Greek” Christmas dinner this year and I made this and it was amazing!! I only added a pinch of nutmeg for the bechamel sauce. We loved it so much I am making it again this weekend. Thank you SO much for such a fabulous recipe!

    • postedJan 20, 2017 5:13 PM

      Happy to hear you liked it as much as we did!

  22. postedJan 29, 2017 8:32 AM
    Nadia

    100% percent Greek girl here!    The best way to make pastichio so it does not fall apart is to bake it the night before for about 45 minuites.  Let cool completely and place it in the fridge.  Next day take it out of the fridge a few hours before serving and bring it to room temp.  Then back for another 45 min or until the top turns golden brown.  I use the broiler at the end for a few minutes. Take it out of the oven and let sit for a half hour and then cut.  You will have perfect pieces that don’t fall apart.  

  23. postedApr 12, 2017 5:37 AM
    Maureen

    This came out amazing!!! Great recipe!!!

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