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Greek Pastitsio recipe (Baked Greek Lasagna with Meat Sauce and Béchamel)

Greek Pastitsio recipe (Baked Greek Lasagna with Meat Sauce and Béchamel)


If you haven’t tried Greek Pastitsio (Baked Greek Lasagna) before, then you are certainly missing out! To prepare a traditional pastitsio (pasticio) recipe, luscious layers of juicy minced beef are cooked in a tomato based sauce, with pasta and creamy béchamel sauce and all this baked together until golden perfection.. Simply irresistible! And with this step-by-step traditional Greek pastitsio recipe you can easily recreate this traditional delight from scratch! So go ahead, indulge yourself to this little sin..

A three step, no-fail traditional Greek Pastitsio recipe!

After experimenting, we have distilled the essence of this delightful traditional Greek dish to a few easy to follow steps for you to make the very best pastitsio on your first try! This easy to follow Greek pastitsio recipe can be summarised in three key stages: preparing the meat filling, preparing the creamy béchamel sauce and cooking the pasta mixture. Each stage will require dirtying some pots and pans, but I think you will agree that the end result is well worth it!

 

Greek Pastitsio recipe – Prepare the meat sauce

Greek pastitsio (pastichio/pasticcio/Pastizio) owes its full and rich flavour to the two aromatic spices used in this traditional pastitsio recipe, cinnamon and clove, which give a really characteristic flavour and smell. Once put in the oven, the intense aromas of the sweet spices permeates the house and brings back childhood memories. To prepare the meat sauce for this pastitsio recipe, the ground beef is sautéed in olive oil, flavoured with onions and garlic and then simmered in red wine and tomato sauce. Let it simmer for a while to allow the flavours to mingle.

Greek Pastitsio recipe – Prepare the Béchamel sauce

To achieve the perfect texture for your béchamel sauce, add the milk (preferably lukewarm) a little bit at a time whilst constantly stirring. The perfect béchamel sauce for your pastitsio should be smooth and creamy. The key is to whisk the sauce constantly to allow each time the flour to absorb the milk, so that it doesn’t get lumpy. Cook the sauce over medium-low heat in order to prevent it from burning and sticking on the bottom of the pan, but be careful to cook it enough, until you can’t taste the flour and is thick enough.

Greek Pastitsio recipe – Prepare the pasta

The pasta base for this pastitsio recipe is mixed with Greek feta cheese and enriched with its sharp and distinctive taste. Be careful to cook the pasta for the pastitsio 2-3 minutes less than the package instructions, so that they don’t get mushy after turning out of the oven later. Even though it will be really hard.. you should wait for the pastitsio to cool down for a while before cutting into pieces.

So go ahead, give this traditional Pastitsio recipe a try and amaze your friends and family with this extra tasty hearty dish! Oh and you can always read this in Greek if you fancy Συνταγή Παστίτσιο με Κρεμώδη Μπεσαμέλ.

Base Ingredients

  • 350g (12 ounces) macaroni for Pastitsio (you can substitute penne or ziti)
  • 110g feta cheese (4 ounces)
  • 2 eggs

For the meat sauce

  • 700g lean minced beef (25 ounces)
  • 2 medium sized red onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 400g canned chopped tomatoes (14 ounces)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • a glass of red wine
  • a bay leaf
  • 1 cinammon stick
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1/4 of a cup olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the béchamel

  • 120g flour (4 ounces)
  • 120g butter (4 ounces)
  • 900ml milk (3 and 1/2 cups)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100g Parmigiano-Reggiano or Kefalotyri (3.5 ounces)
  • a pinch of nutmeg

Instructions

  1. To prepare this traditional pastitsio recipe, start by making the meat sauce. Heat a large pan to medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Stir in the chopped onions and sauté, until softened. Stir in the garlic, tomato puree and the beef (breaking it up with a wooden spoon) and sauté. Pour in the red wine and wait to evaporate. Add the tinned tomatoes, the sugar, cinnamon, clove, the bay leaf and season. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes, until most of the juices have evaporated. (After the meat is cooked, remove the bay leaf, the clove and the cinnamon)
  2. Prepare the béchamel sauce for the pastitsio. Use a large pan to melt the butter over low-medium heat. Add the flour whisking continuously to make a paste. Add warmed milk in a steady stream and keep whisking in order to prevent your sauce from getting lumpy. If the sauce still needs to thicken, boil over low heat whilst continuing to stir. Remove the pan from the stove and add the egg yolks, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and the grated cheese. Whisk quickly, in order to prevent the eggs from turning an omelette!
  3. Cook the pasta for the pastitsio 2-3 minutes less than the package instructions, so that they don’t get mushy after turning out of the oven later. Drain the pasta and stir in the eggs and the feta cheese (smashed with a fork) and mix gently with a spatula.
  4. For this pastitsio recipe you will need a large baking dish, approx. 20*30 cm. Butter the bottom and sides of a pan and assemble the pastitsio. Layer the pasta, top with the meat sauce and even out. Top the pastitsio with the béchamel sauce and smooth out with a spatula.
  5. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake the pastitsio in preheated oven at 180-200C for about 40 minutes, until crust turns a light golden brown. Let the pastitsio cool down for a while before serving.

Recipe image gallery:


pastitio

 
 

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20 Comments

  1. My thea doesn’t use can of tomatoes and I’m not fond of them either. What can I use instead?

  2. Can I leave out the wine or what can I use as a substitute in the meat sauce?

  3. Can ground chicken substitute the ground beef

  4. Do I need to cover the casserole with foil while it bakes for the first 30 minutes or so?

  5. jim silver says:

    hi everybody mine is in the oven right now and i just realize i forgot the cheese on top,time to grate some cheese,cant wait

  6. jim silver says:

    panic over didn’t bother no need,it was delicious!!

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  9. I have just made my first Pastitsio and it looks great!! All the ingredients taste beautiful, so I can’t wait to taste it
    My partner on the other hand looked over my shoulder the whole time because this is not how his mummy who is Greek makes it and the ingredients are all wrong……..gggrrrr

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  11. Maria Kyriacou says:

    Wonderful recipe easy to follow and delicious with a nice greek salad😊

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  13. Lovely…..best recipe by far x

  14. Cindy Koukla says:

    I’ve made this 3 times so far and my Greek boyfriend now says I’m a keeper hahaha this recipe pleases the pickiest eaters I know. 5 stars!

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  16. Just made it and was very tasty. Lots of pots and dishes, but worth it. Easy to make and to follow the recipe. The prescribed dish size is to small so I made a small one one the side to freeze. Thank you.

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