Pastitsio (Greek Baked Pasta)
Updated: Mar 29
Pastitsio is a traditional greek dish with baked pasta, ground meat, cheese and béchamel sauce. It is a favorite traditional dinner recipe. Every greek family cooks and loves Pastitsio.
Here I present you a lighter version of greek pastitsio.
For us Greeks, pastitsio is a dish, which is associated with our memory and if nothing else with our mom. It may seems complicated, but in fact it is easy and of course delicious.
500 gr. bucatini pasta
200 gr. kefalotiri cheese (hart, salty cheese) or light cheese
1 tbsp. butter or olive oil
For Ground Meat:
4 tbsp. olive oil
800 gr. beef mince (or 400r. beef and 300 gr. pork mince)
400 gr. tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
100 ml red wine
1 beef bouillon cube
For Béchamel Sauce:
200 gr. all purpose flour
1,5 lt. milk (full fat or light)
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tbsp. nutmeg
For the pasta:
Add bucatini pasta to a pot of salted water. Boil 1-2 minutes less than the instructions on their box, because they will be cooked further in the oven.
Add olive oil or butter in the same pot and let it melt.
Then put the pasta in the melted butter and stir.
Spread the pasta in a baking pan, add cheese and stir. Set aside until needed.
For the Ground Meat:
Place a pan over high heat, add 4 tbsp. olive oil.
Add ground meat and break it up with a spoon. Cook for about 5 minutes until brown.
Add onions and garlic and sweat until soften.
Add tomato paste and sweat for at least 2 minutes. (it will give more more intense taste)
Add red wine and let it evaporate.
Add tomatoes, cinnamon, bouillon cube, parsley, salt, pepper and turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10-20 minutes, until sauce reduces and the ground meat is cooked.
When ready, set aside until needed.
For Béchamel Sauce:
Roast flour in a pan until brown and set aside.
Add milk in a saucepan and let it warm (in medium to high temperature).
Add salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg.
When the milk warms up, start adding flour gradually while whisking.
When the mixture is creamy enough, add butter and continue whisking.
When butter is melted and you have a creamy béchamel sauce, set aside.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees (Fan).
Bring back the baking pan with the pasta and spread ground meat mixture over the pasta.
Pour béchamel sauce over the ground meat.
Optionally sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the béchamel turns golden brown.
Enjoy your meal!