posted in Dinner at 6

Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)

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.

Pastitsio

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!

How to make Pastitsio

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, then a generous layer of meat sauce, then more noodles and cheese, and then a layer of the bechamel sauce and more cheese!

Pastitsio in a pan

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

Pastitsio cut into slices

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!

Slice of Pastitsio

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!

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!

Watch the video showing you how to make this recipe, then print out the recipe and make it at home.

Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 707 kcal

This is truly a unique dinner recipe that is very different than traditional lasagna!

Print

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 tablespoons 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)

Instructions

PREPARE THE BECHAMEL SAUCE:

  1. 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:

  1. 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:

  1. 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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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).

Recipe Notes

  • *Whole Foods carries Kasseri cheese- or check a specialty cheese shop.  If you have trouble locating Greek cheeses, you can sub Parmesan.
Nutrition Facts
Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 707 Calories from Fat 315
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 35g 54%
Saturated Fat 19g 95%
Cholesterol 233mg 78%
Sodium 1417mg 59%
Potassium 664mg 19%
Total Carbohydrates 49g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 7g
Protein 44g 88%
Vitamin A 19.6%
Vitamin C 2.8%
Calcium 55.8%
Iron 22.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Disclosure:  This post was originally part of a partnership with Universal Pictures.

Recipe for Pastitsio or Greek Lasagna from RecipeGirl.com #pastitsio #greek #lasagna #recipe #RecipeGirl

Comments

  1. postedMay 20, 2018 10:14 AM
    Laurie Senske

    If you make the night before should you bake it then refrigerate it or refrigerate it unbaked and bake it the next evening for dinner? Thank you Lori
     

    • postedMay 21, 2018 4:20 PM

      I refrigerate leftovers. If you’re planning to prep but not eat until the next night… I’d probably refrigerate and then bake the next day.

  2. postedMay 7, 2018 5:17 PM
    Ann

    Do you layer the cooled noodles one at a time to get such perfect rows? It looks beautiful !!!

    • postedMay 22, 2018 5:31 PM

      No, they just fall into place and end up looking nice!

  3. postedMay 3, 2018 12:20 PM
    Caroline hayes

    Can FETA CHEESE Be used instead of one of the others ?

  4. postedMar 27, 2018 8:34 PM
    Laura Kasa

    Traditional Greek Lasagna, or Pastitsio, is made with ground lamb, not beef.

  5. postedFeb 7, 2018 4:52 AM
    Maria

    BEST TASTING MEAL EVER!!
    I am Greek and never made pastichio before. I have my own recipes but needed ingredients quickly and was at store. Looked this up due to the picture honestly. Followed all instructions to the tee. Started the bechamel sauce with much trepidation but stuck with it and succeeded! 
    Lots of pots and pans and many minutes later, I had a beautiful pastichio for my family to eat.
    DELICIOUS!!!
    THANK YOU!!!!

  6. postedApr 12, 2017 5:37 AM
    Maureen

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

  7. 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.  

  8. 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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top