Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)

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This recipe for traditional Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna) was given to me by a Greek family who has had this recipe in their family recipe collection for a very long time.

Watch the video showing you how to make Pastitsio, then scroll to the bottom of this post and print out the recipe so you can make it at home.

slice of pastitsio sitting on a white plate on a white napkin

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.  And I think you’ll find that this is one of the most delicious dinner recipes you’ve ever had!

overhead shot of making pastitsio in process looking at noodles and cheese in the casserole dish

How do you make Pastitsio?

It’s layered just like traditional Italian lasagna.  The layers are as follows:  noodles tossed in egg are topped with Greek cheese.

overhead shot of making pastitsio in process looking at the meat and cheese

A generous layer of meat sauce makes up the next layer.

overhead shot of making pastitsio in a casserole dish in process - noodles and cheese

Then, more noodles and cheese!

overhead shot of pastitsio in a casserole dish ready to go in the oven

On top is the final layer of the bechamel sauce and more cheese!

overhead shot of pastitsio in a casserole dish just out of the oven

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

overhead shot of pastitsio in a casserole dish using a spatula to take out a slice

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.

overhead shot of pastitsio in a casserole dish with spatula taking a slice out

It will be tremendously delicious either way you decide to make it!

slice of pastitsio sitting on a white plate on a white napkin

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

My family LOVES, LOVES, LOVES 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!  Authentic Greek recipes are the absolute best!

slice of pastitsio sitting on a white plate

If you enjoy Greek recipes, you might also like my Greek Spinach Pie or my Greek Butter Cookies.  You definitely have to try making Greek Tzatziki too!

Slice of Pastitsio on a white plate with a white napkin
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4.83 from 28 votes

Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)

This is truly a unique dinner recipe that is very different than traditional lasagna!
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 707kcal
Course Main Course
Cuisine Greek
Keyword greek, Lasagna, Pastitsio

Ingredients

BECHAMEL SAUCE:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart whole milk, warmed until hot
  • 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 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • teaspoons salt
  • 12 to 16 ounces Kasseri or Kefalotiri cheese, grated (see notes below)

Instructions

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.

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.

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.

ASSEMBLE THE DISH:

  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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).

Video

Notes

  • *Whole Foods carries Kasseri cheese- or check a specialty cheese shop.  If you have trouble locating Greek cheeses, you can sub Parmesan.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 707kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 233mg | Sodium: 1417mg | Potassium: 664mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 980IU | Vitamin C: 2.3mg | Calcium: 558mg | Iron: 4mg
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Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

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Comments

  • Carla C wrote:

    Had to use Colby cheese because I couldnt find the Greek cheese.It was great!!!!!

  • Kim wrote:

    This was amazing!

  • Jacqui Costello wrote:

    An excellent recipe. Thank you.

  • Sara wrote:

    This recipe is perfect and one of my absolute favorite meals! Made it three times now 🙂

  • SCV wrote:

    I want to make this weekend May 16th or 17th 2020 and you said that you should refrigerate to let the layers set… and then warm up later to serve).long in the refrigerator and then should you bring it back to room temperature before you put it in the oven?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Just until set… and then yes, probably a good idea to let it sit at room temperature again before heating. I’d heat individual slices in the microwave it is were me!

  • VICTORIA NELSON wrote:

    My family all loved this pasticho, some of them even had seconds, served with a salad also

  • GaryRoth wrote:

    Nice recipe, which we have used several times. The only change, is that we use ground lamb instead of ground beef (Aldi’s carries it). Really adds SO much! A really nice recipe!

  • Steve wrote:

    You have written 3 large eggs for the sauce and then 3 large eggs for the main dish, however in the method you only reference 3 eggs for the sauce. Is this a typing error or does the main dish require an additional 3 large eggs?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      There are 3 eggs in the sauce and 3 eggs in the pasta. It’s all laid out in the written instructions for the recipe. Good luck!