Homemade Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna) Recipe

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Pastitsio is a delicious Greek lasagna dish. It features layers of cheesy, tubular pasta and spiced meat sauce topped with a creamy béchamel. Needless to say, it makes for a hearty and flavorful meal. As with all traditional recipes, there are many ways to make it. Here\’s one version of the dish along with ideas for ingredient substitutions.

Finished pastitsio

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Spiced Meat Sauce

Things You\’ll Need

  • 2 pounds ground beef or lamb

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 28 ounces canned tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Ingredients for pastitsio meat sauce

Step 1

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef and onions. Cook until the beef is browned, about 8 to 10 minutes, while breaking it up with a spatula. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Drain the excess grease if desired.

Cook ground beef, onions and garlic

Step 2

Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, bay leaves and spices. Mix well and simmer until thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.

Add sauce ingredients and simmer

Greek Béchamel Sauce

Things You\’ll Need

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 cup grated Kefalotyri or Pecorino Romano cheese

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Ingredients for béchamel sauce

Step 1

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.

Melt the butter

Step 2

Add the flour. Whisk until thick and lightly golden.

Whisk flour and butter

Step 3

Slowly add the milk, 1/3 at a time, while constantly whisking. Whisk until no lumps remain.

Add milk and whisk until smooth

Step 4

Add the salt, pepper and grated cheese. Whisk until smooth and melted. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 to 7 minutes.

Add cheese and whisk until melted

Step 5

If you haven\’t already, lightly beat the eggs. Add them to the sauce and stir until combined and thick. Set aside.

Add eggs to sauce

Pasta Layer

Things You\’ll Need

  • 1 package (500 grams) pastitsio noodles

  • 4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese or crumbled feta

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Ingredients for pastitsio pasta layer

Tip

You can substitute the pastitsio noodles with 16 ounces penne, ziti or macaroni. These options will change the appearance of the final dish but not the flavor.

Step 1

Bring a pot of water to a boil and then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Boil pasta

Step 2

Drain the pasta. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil and then gently toss to coat the noodles. This will keep the pasta from sticking together.

Toss pasta with olive oil

Step 3

If you haven\’t already, lightly beat the eggs. Add the cheese and beaten eggs to the pasta. Gently toss until evenly combined.

Add cheese and eggs to pasta

How to Assemble Homemade Pastitsio

Things You\’ll Need

  • Olive oil

  • Cooked pastitsio noodles

  • Spiced meat sauce

  • Greek béchamel sauce

  • Grated Kefalotyri or Pecorino Romano cheese for garnish

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a large casserole dish with olive oil. Place the cooked noodles in the dish, arranging them in the same direction.

Arrange noodles in a large casserole dish

Step 2

Spoon the meat sauce over the noodles. Spread the sauce in an even layer.

Spread meat sauce on top of noodles

Step 3

Pour the béchamel on top. Again, spread the sauce in an even layer. Top with extra grated cheese if desired.

Spread béchamel sauce on top

Step 4

Bake for 40 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly golden brown. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Finished pastitsio

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