Go Back
+ servings
Pastitsio recipe featured image
Print Recipe
4.91 from 10 votes

Authentic Pastitsio recipe (traditional Greek lasagna)

The Pastitsio (or Pastichio) is a traditional Greek lasagna recipe made in a casserole dish consisting of layers of pasta, ground meat sauce (similar to Bolognese) and a creamy béchamel sauce. Ideal for Sunday dinner and it also freezes well.
Prep Time1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time2 hours 50 minutes
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Servings: 9
Calories: 778kcal
Author: Makos


For the meat sauce:

  • 2.4 pounds (1100 grams) ground beef (or a mix of beef and lamb or pork)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 large onion, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup dry red wine (rose)
  • ¼ cup thick tomato paste
  • 2 cups pureed tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice, optional

For the pasta:

  • 1 package (1 pound/450 grams) pastitsio pasta No2 (or bucatini pasta or penne)
  • 1 ½ cups (120 grams) grated cheese (Greek Kefalotiri, Cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano)
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt (for the water for the pasta)

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (100 grams) olive oil (or butter)
  • Freshly ground nutmeg (about ⅓ of a nutmeg seed)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine salt
  • 6 cups (1500 grams) milk, warm
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups (120 grams) grated cheese (cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano, Greek Kefalotiri)


  • One deep baking dish (casserole) about 14 x 10 inches (36 x 25 cm) and 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) deep or one round pan 14 inches (35cm) in diameter and 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) deep


  • Make the meat sauce:
    Heat a deep pan over high heat and add the oil and the ground beef. Let it brown, without stirring, and when the meat is no longer red, stir with a wooden spatula and break any meat lumps.
    Cook until all the juices have evaporated, reduce heat to medium/high and add the onion the carrot, the bay leaves, the cinnamon stick, the allspice and the cloves. Stir for 5 minutes and add the wine. Wait for 1 minute for the alcohol to evaporate and add the tomato paste, the pureed tomatoes, the salt and the pepper.
    When it starts to boil again, reduce heat to low and simmer until almost all of the liquids have evaporated (about 30 minutes). Remove and discard the bay leaves and the cinnamon stick.
  • In the meantime, make the pasta:
    Cook the pasta in a pot with salted water, until al dente, according to the packaging directions (because they'll continue cooking in the oven, boiling them for 2-3 minutes less is recommended).
  • Drain the pasta, mix in the grated cheese and transfer about two-thirds of the pasta to the casserole dish. Level with a spoon and cover with the meat sauce. Level the meat sauce with the back of a spoon and spread the rest of the pasta uniformly over the meat.
  • Preheat your oven to 374°F (190°C)
  • Make the béchamel sauce:
    Cook the flour with the olive oil in a large pot stirring continuously with a whisk until it starts to smell nutty. Remove from the heat and add the nutmeg and the salt.
    Whisk to combine and add the warm milk gradually, whisking constantly to prevent it from forming any lumps. At first the mixture will thicken but as you continue to add the milk it will loosen up.
    When all the milk is added, return to the stove and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens. When it starts to bubble, remove from the heat and let it sit on your counter for 5 minutes to cool a little.
    Add 1 cup of the grated cheese and the eggs and whisk quickly to combine.
  • Pour the béchamel sauce over the pasta, level with a spatula and sprinkle the surface with the remaining grated cheese.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top is golden brown with dark spots all over the surface. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing for easier serving. Eat!


  • The meat sauce can be cooked from the previous day and kept refrigerated.
  • This is a large recipe, about 9-10 servings. If you want a smaller quantity, it may be better to divide the pastitsio into two smaller pans and freeze the one for later use.
  • For the grated cheese I use a mix of the cheeses listed in the ingredients (but you can also use your favorite type).
  • Instead of ground allspice and ground cloves you can use 5 allspice kernels and 5 whole cloves but you’ll have to fish them out of the meat sauce after it’s done.


Calories: 778kcal