Pastitsio

Pastitsio is a Greek pasta dish that is both fun to say and a joy to eat. I had only first learned of the dish after reading about it from Peter, one of my favorite Greek food bloggers. The dish somewhat reminds me of lasagna in that it’s a hearty blend of pasta, meaty sauce, and a creamy Bechamel sauce all baked into gooey deliciousness. However, the flavor and texture is quite distinct from lasagna but still has all the amazing comfort food properties that will have you making this over and over again.

Pastitsio

The first major difference: tubular pasta instead of big sheets. I couldn’t find the authentic bucatini, so I used ziti. Then, the meat sauce isn’t a traditional bolognese, but a quicker-to-make tomato and meat based sauce highlighted by a very distinct spice blend that sounds odd but works beautifully: cinammon and allspice. This is all married by a very generous swim in a cheesy Bechamel sauce. The combination of all three is incredible and it will definitely not be the last Greek dish I make.

  • Meat Sauce
    • ~2 lbs of ground beef & pork
    • 4 shallots
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 6 cloves garlic
    • 3 Bay leaves
    • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
    • 28 oz tomatoes
    • 1/4 cup dry white wine
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp capers
    • ground cayenne
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb tubular pasta (I used ziti since I can’t find Bucatini)
  • Béchamel
    • 1 stick of butter
    • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
    • 9 cups of whole milk (warm)
    • 7 eggs (room temperature)
    • 1 cup grated Romano/Parmesan
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1+ cup Romano for topping

Simmer the meat sauce

Start with the meat sauce. Heat up a small bit of olive oil and brown the meat until cooked through. Drain and set aside.

Now, sauté the shallots over medium heat for roughly 8 minutes before adding the garlic and Bay leaves for 1-2 minutes more. Deglaze the pan with wine and add all of the remaining sauce ingredients. Return the meat to the pan, mix well, and simmer over low-medium heat until thick (maybe 10-15 minutes). Fish out the Bay leaves.

Whisk the bechamel

Now for the Bechamel. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted down, add the flour to make a roux, stirring regularly for about 3-5 minutes.

Now, whisk in the milk, taking care to break up any roux lumps. Yes, it is a lot of milk. No, it is not a typo. Heat this up to a boil and stir regularly. Keep cooking until thick.

Remove the pan from the heat. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs along with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Slowly pour the eggs into the Bechamel and whisk constantly. Add the grated cheese and whisk that until incorporated. Set this aside.

Layer the Bechamel, pasta, and meat sauce

During all of this, boil your pasta and drain per package directions.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Mix a generous scoop of Bechamel into the meat sauce. Do the same (two or three) for the pasta. This keeps everything nice and moist.

Get either a roasting pan or casserole dish (I used two small ones) out for putting this all together. Coat the bottom with Bechamel followed by half of your pasta. Pour on all of the meat sauce followed by the remaining pasta. I threw some grated Romano in there as well.

Pour the rmaining Bechamel on top of all I this and smooth it out. Top with remaining grated cheese for a tasty crust on top.

Pastitsio fresh out of the oven and looking tempting

Transfer this to the oven for 45-60 minutes. The top should deepen in color and smell amazing. One time is up, remove from the oven and wait 20 minutes before you cut into it so things can firm up a little. Enjoy!

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25 Responses to “Pastitsio”

  1. Jan Says:

    I LOVE pastitsio! Yours looks lovely Mike!

  2. Peter Says:

    Mike…finally – you posted it! I guess you liked it, eh? lol

    It’s a fabulous dish, loved by Greeks and non-Greeks and now you swamp-devils in Florida love it too!

    Thanks for the shout out, yours turned out wonderfully.

  3. mikky Says:

    thanks for sharing this, i guess the spices made the difference… :)

  4. Erica Says:

    Your pasta looks delicious! I love bechamel sauce.
    Wonderful recipe.
    all your recipes are amazing.

  5. Jeff Says:

    Nicely done! The joy of pastitsio is the clean up. When I made it I was cursing up a storm over how many pots and pans had to get soaked. Heck I ran out of clean pans before I even made the béchamel sauce.

    I like how you did your way better than mine and now I am going to have to redo it.

    Plus if you can get love from Peter the dish is a win win.

  6. deeba Says:

    It looks DIVINE to me Mike…loads of work & washing though! Well done!!

  7. Cookie Says:

    I made Bechamel sauce for the first time last night to pour over my Croque Mesieurs. I didn’t realize it was a lot easier than I thought and SO worth it! Now I wish I didn’t throw out the left-overs to make this pasta dish!

  8. The Duo Dishes Says:

    It’s nice and bubbly with cheese!

  9. Heather Says:

    i have been wanting to make this for so long! it looks delicious!

  10. Bunny Says:

    Your gonna kill me for this, but when i saw that first picture I thought …mac and cheese. Don’t hurt me, thats a good thing! It looks fantastic!!

  11. Dragon Says:

    You can never go wrong with one of Peter’s dishes. :)

  12. Hélène Says:

    You made a fabulous dish. You continue to impress. Hope the baby is well.

  13. grace Says:

    i love it when foods are yummy and have fun names at the same time. i also love it when said foods are drowning in cheese. :)

  14. Susan Says:

    This looks fabulous! Thanks for presenting it. Great dish to feed a crowd.

  15. Toni Says:

    I love all things Greek – especially the food! And this looks like Greek comfort food if there ever was such a thing. Oh, yum!

  16. Mark Garso Says:

    Never tried anything like this. Am definitely up for something I haven’t had! Looks fabulous!

    Mark F. Garso 3568

  17. pam Says:

    I love the last shot with the gooey, browned, melted cheese!

  18. Lori @ RecipeGirl Says:

    I’ve been wanting to make this Greek pasta dish for a long time now. The fabulous Peter and other Greek bloggers have made it look so wonderful… and now you. I simply must give it a go one of these days!

  19. Nikos Says:

    We love pastitsio.

  20. Lauren’s Kitchen » Pastitsio Says:

    […] have been a lot of Greek dishes showing up on friends’ blogs lately, and when I saw this Pastitsio from Mike’s Table I knew I had to make a version of Pastitsio including capers.  I’d never thought to add […]

  21. shayne Says:

    my mom used to make this when we were kids and we loved it. it is a little different then this one but the same idea she would mix the eggs with the pasta and layer the bechemel on the sauce . now I am craving it, I have had it in years

  22. Kevin Says:

    That pastitsio looks really good. I like the cinnamon and capers in the sauce,

  23. Matt Says:

    This looks good – I came to your website 2 years ago, and had the cornish game hens. They were amazing, I’m not the best cook, so I come here when I need a recipe.

    I was thinking about lasagna, and this looked good. You haven’t failed me yet, and this won’t. :)

  24. Greek Beef Stew | theclothesmakethegirl Says:

    […] But since I’m not eating any feta these days –  nor am I indulging in the wonders of pastitsio or spinach pies (I just told my sweet friend Stacey that I would give my right arm for a piece of […]

  25. Bicky Says:

    Kate, you’re a cook after my own heart. I’m seeing space on the parnty shelves of put up veggies, space on the freezer shelves of put up veggies, and less squash in the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve. I haven’t gotten a CSA farm share in 2 months, and it will be 2 months before the CSA season starts here in Ohio.However, I do have bags and canning jars of spaghetti sauce, and there’s a cow in the other freezer, so I CAN MAKE THIS!Thanks!

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