pastitsio baked

I have called this recipe Pastitsio the Greek way as opposed to the Makaronia tou Fournou, which is the one we make in Cyprus.

Pastitsio is a layered Greek pasta casserole dish, similar to Lasagne.   In many parts of Greece and Cyprus, Pastitsio is also called “Makaronia tou Fournou” which means “oven baked pasta”.  The name pastitsio comes from the Italian “pasticcio”, where in some parts of Italy is also called “Lasagne al Forno”, which again means “oven baked Lasagne”.  Lasagna are made with a flat sheet of pasta which has its roots in ancient Greece.  This pasta was called “Laganon” or “Lasanon” or “Lasana”.  Lasanon was a trivet or a stand for the pot.  The ancient Romans named it “lasanum”.  They cooked this pasta in the “lasagnum” which later was named affter this pot to Lasagna plural Lasagne.  In Greece we still have un unleavened flatbread called “Lagana”.

There are a few variations of Pastitsio throughout the regions of Greece with a few minor different spices but typically the bottom layer is bucatini or other tubular pasta with cheese and egg as a binder, or some of the béchamel cream.  If we do not add the cream our pasta will not stick together but will spread in the plate during serving.

The second layer is a ground meat sauce (usually beef or veal but it can also be substituted with pork, a mixture of veal and pork mince or chicken or turkey mince) with fresh tomatoes and cinnamon, nutmeg (cloves and allspice are a few other spices used).

On top of the sauce there  is another layer of pasta and on top of  that is a thick creamy Béchamel sauce with myzithra or graviera (read here to find out about these  Greek cheeses) grated and mixed in the pasta as well as in the béchamel sauce and some sprinkled on top together with a hint of nutmeg or other spices.

Authentic Greek Pastitsio

Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: about 45 minutes
Serves: 1 baking tin 35 x 30 cm / 14 x 12 inches


  • 1 packet (500 grs.) of tubular spaghetti No. 3 or No. 6
  • 1 cup of grated graviera or myzithra cheese (extra for the bechamel)
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg

For filling:

  • 500 grams (1.10 lbs) ground beef or veal
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 ripe tomatoes peeled and blended  (or 1 can 500 grams of whole tomatoes, blended)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup of dry red wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp oregano

Bechamel sauce:

  • See recipe and step by step instructions here.


  1. Sauté the onion and garlic  until translucent.  Add the ground meat and sauté until it turns white.
  2. Add wine and stir until it evaporates and add salt, pepper, oregano, cinnamon and oregano.  Finally add tomatoes and tomato paste. Reduce heat and simmer until it is cooked and most of the juices are reduced to a sauce.  Remove from the heat and mix in the parsley.
  3. Meantime, prepare the béchamel sauce and pasta.
  4. Boil water and add salt and a tablespoon of olive oil and prepare the pasta al dente, according to the package instructions.   Remove from the heat and place it in cold water.  When ready to use drain and mix in the egg white and some cheese.
  5. Divide the pasta in two equal parts and in half of it mix a few tablespoon béchamel sauce.
  6. Put this pasta as the bottom layer and then add the ground meat on top and add remaining pasta on top.
  7. Finally, add the béchamel sauce to cover pasta and sprinkle with some grated cheese and a sprinkle of nutmeg on top.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C / 350 F for about 45 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Other relevant recipes:
Makaronia tou Fournou

Pastitsio Nistisimo (Vegan)

Pastitsio Lasagna

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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18 Comments on Pastitsio the Greek way

  1. Sweet & Simple Bakes says:

    This looks delicious Ivy!! I really enjoy this type of food and I’m sure my family would love this :)

    Rosie x

  2. Bellini Valli says:

    It has been a while since I tried to make Pastitsio. I tried a delicious version in Ioannina but would be willing to come to your home and learn to make it your way…wink..wink…

  3. Ivy says:

    Val, have you made the version you tried at Ioannina? I am curious to see what’s different.

  4. Maria says:

    Ivy this is definitely my kind of food. Your Pastitsio looks so good!!


  5. Ginny says:

    Delicious! I’ll have to make this for dinner! :)

  6. Ruth Daniels says:

    It does look awesome and thanks for the tips as well. So glad you shared with Presto Pasta Nights.

  7. Núria says:

    This looks like a sunday meal to me!!! Everybody sitting at the table, even the cook, and enjoying a meal together :D. It must be so fulfilling! All I would need after a Pastitsio like yours would be a siesta 😀

  8. Cakelaw says:

    Yum Ivy – I love lasagna, so I am sure that this would be delicious.

  9. Lauren says:

    This looks great- I will try this myself. Reminiscent of mousaka (sp?) but without the eggplant I have to be in the right mood for.

  10. Ivy says:

    Hi Lauren, thanks for passing by. The bechamel and the ground meat are similar to moussaka but the end result is totally different.

  11. Kevin says:

    That pastitsio looks really tasty!

  12. Ivy says:

    Thank you Kevin and good luck for your turn to host.

  13. […] will have to wait until tomorrow to see if I have made Moussakas, Pastitsio or maybe Vegetarian […]

  14. […] detailed instructions how to make Pstitsio and Makaronia tou […]

  15. My aunt and my father still speak of the pasticcio that their Greek cook used to make. It apparently had a phyllo crust which she made herself. I love your recipe but was wondering if you ever made it with phyllo dough on top?

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