Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)

Greek

Traditional Greek Pastitsio Recipe (Greek Lasagna)

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Prep

15 minutes

Cook

1 hour 45 minutes

Yield

8 -12 pieces

This delicious dish has a meat sauce made with warming spices, layers of pasta, and creamy bechamel.

This pastitsio recipe is so delicious. It’s essentially a Greek version of lasagna. Layers of pasta with a spiced red wine meat sauce that is so warming and comforting. The thick layer of bechamel just is the icing on the cake. This dish is seriously the ultimate comfort food that you’re going to love.

❤️ Why You’ll Love Pastitsio

  • Comforting: To me any dish with pasta, a warming meat sauce, and bechamel screams comfort food and this pastitsio recipe seriously is the most comforting dish
  • Easy: This recipe is pretty easy to bring together and it’s incredibly impressive. The whole family will love it
  • Versatile: Add in your fav veggies or swap the beef with your favorite ground meat or plant-based ground “meat”
Sliced piece of pastitsio coming out of a casserole dish

🍲 Ingredients

Spices: One of the key things that sets pastitsio apart from regular Italian lasagna is the spices in the meat sauce. I use warming spices live cloves, cinnamon, and allspice which bring a unique, rich, and delicious flavor to this dish

Bechamel: The bechamel sauce is what you use instead of cheese in this dish. I also use another warming spice, nutmeg, in the bechamel to give some added deliciousness. This creamy sauce layered with the pasta and sauce makes this delicious complete.

I’m Your Mommy Now

Your Greek mommy that is. 😍 Step into my kitchen to learn how to make yummy Greek food. 🍽️💃

👩‍🍳 How to Make Pastitsio

Make the meat sauce

  1. Add olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook until softened about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the ground beef, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, and cook for about 10-12 minutes until cooked through.
  3. Pour in the red wine to deglaze the pan. Cook it for a few minutes until most of the wine has evaporated.
  4. Stir in the garlic, spices (salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, dried basil, all-spice), and bay leaves until incorporated. Next stir in the diced or whole tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes crush them up a bit when added to the pot), sugar, tomato paste, and water and bring to a boil. Once simmering, turn the heat to medium-low and let simmer with the lid on until the sauce has cooked down and most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
Sliced piece of pastitsio coming out of a casserole dish

Make the bechamel

  1. Whisk the 4 eggs together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Make the bechamel by adding butter to a medium frying pan or pot over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until a paste forms.
  3. Stir in the milk in 1/2 cup increments, whisking constantly after each addition to make sure the sauce doesn’t get lumpy. Continue whisking and add in salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk in the shredded cheese until combined.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in whisked eggs, whisking quickly to combine and make sure the eggs don’t get lumpy. Put back on low heat for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, and continue whisking – the sauce should be smooth and sort of consistency of a cheese sauce. Set aside.

Pasta

  1. When the meat sauce and bechamel are ready, cook the pasta to al dente and set aside.

Assemble and bake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Place the pasta in a 9×13 baking dish, arranging the noodles facing the same way as best you can and making the layer as level as you can.
  3. Add the meat sauce as the next layer and smooth out the top of the surface.
  4. Pour the bechamel sauce over the meat sauce layer and gently smooth out the top of the surface.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. You can always broil on low toward the end of the baking time to help the crust turn golden.
  6. Let the pasta bake cool for at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

🪄 Tips and Tricks

  • You can find Greek pasta noodles called Pastitsio No 2 pasta in most European or Greek markets/stores
  • Make this recipe alcohol-free by using non-alcoholic red wine or beef broth


🗒 Substitutions

  • Pasta: Substitute pastitsio with bucatini, penne or ziti 
  • Meat: Make this recipe vegetarian by substituting beef with plant-based ground meat


🗒 Best served with

👝 How to Store Leftovers

Store leftovers in a sealed container in your fridge for up to four days. This dish is so yummy leftover!

🤔 Common Questions

Where do I find Pastitsio noodles?

You can find these in most European supermarkets. However, if you can’t, you can substitute it easily with similar shaped noodles like penne.

Can I make pastitsio vegan?

The meat sauce is easy to make with a plant-based ground meat substitute, however, the bechamel is a little trickier. I suggest making this dish as is to get the creamiest, and best consistency with the bechamel.

Sliced piece of pastitsio coming out of a casserole dish

Traditional Greek Pastitsio Recipe (Greek Lasagna)

5 from 2 votes
This delicious dish has a meat sauce made with warming spices, layers of pasta, and creamy bechamel.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Greek
Servings 8 -12 pieces
Calories 419 kcal

Ingredients
  

Meatsauce

  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 white onions diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 800-900 g lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 3/4 tsp all spice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 28 oz canned tomatoes diced or whole
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup water

Bechamel

Pasta

  • 400-425 g Greek pasta noodles called Pastitsio No 2 pasta (also known as Greek bucatini)

Instructions
 

Make the meatsauce

  • Add olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Stir in the ground beef, stirring occasionally to break up the meat and cook for about 10-12 minutes until cooked through.
  • Pour in the red wine to deglaze the pan. Cook it for a few minutes until most of the wine has evaporated.
  • Stir in the garlic, spices (salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, dried basil, all spice) and bay leaves until incorporated. Next stir in the diced or whole tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes crush them up a bit when added to the pot), sugar, tomato paste and water and bring to a boil. Once simmering, turn the heat to medium-low and let simmer with the lid on until the sauce has cooked down and most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.

Make the bechamel

  • Whisk the 4 eggs together in a bowl and set aside.
  • Make the bechamel by adding butter to a medium frying pan or pot over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until a paste forms.
  • Stir in the milk in 1/2 cup increments, whisking constantly after each addition to make sure the sauce doesn’t get lumpy. Continue whisking and add in salt, pepper and nutmeg. Whisk in the shredded cheese until combined.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in whisked eggs, whisking quickly to combine and make sure the eggs don't get lumpy. Put back on low heat for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, continue whisking – the sauce should be smooth and sort of consistency of a cheese sauce. Set aside.

Pasta

  • When the meatsauce and bechamel are ready, cook the pasta to al dente and set aside.

Assemble and bake

Video

Notes

  • Serve with our Maroulosalata aka my Mamas Salad or Simple Homemade Greek Salad
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • You can find Greek pasta noodles called Pastitsio No 2 pasta (also known as Greek bucatini) in most European or Greek markets/stores.
  • For the meat sauce, if you don’t want to use red wine, you can try substituting with alcohol-free red wine or beef broth.

Nutrition

Calories: 419kcal | Carbohydrates: 40.5g | Protein: 30.5g | Fat: 13.7g | Saturated Fat: 6.7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 123.4mg | Sodium: 1298.6mg | Fiber: 3.7g | Sugar: 10.1g
Review This Recipe Let us know how it was!
Lia Zyla

5 stars
I made this for the first time last week. I got the noodles from an Italian market and used Parmesan for the bechamel. I wasn’t sure if my bechamel was too thin but it turned out perfectly. Everyone loved it including my 7 year old who typically doesn’t love lasagna. The spices in the meat sauce are amazing! As noted it needs to cool for a bit after cooking so it holds together. I will make this again.

Maria Koutsogiannis

This makes me so happy! Thank you so much, Lia!

Lauren Kubik

This gives Lasagna but on a different and somewhat “lighter” feel! It’s easier to assemble and doesn’t bake as long. And the flavors of the meat sauce with cinnamon and cloves keep your tastes buds engaged and wanted more!

Maria Koutsogiannis

that makes me so happy! Thank you Lauren!

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