Ultimate Guide to Best Pastitsio: Greek Beef Pasta Bake


Pastitsio the Greek Lasagna

Pastitsio, often referred to as Greek lasagna, is a sumptuous and hearty dish that combines layers of pasta, a rich meat sauce, and a creamy béchamel topping. This traditional Greek dish is a staple at festive gatherings and a beloved comfort food for families around the world. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the steps to creating an authentic Pastitsio, ensuring each layer melds perfectly to deliver a memorable dining experience.

Béchamel Sauce

Pastitsio Ingredients Overview

Main Components

  • Pasta: Tubular pasta like ziti or penne is ideal for holding the meat sauce.
  • Ground Beef or Lamb: Choose lean meat for the best texture and flavor.
  • Tomato Paste: Concentrated tomato flavor enriches the meat sauce.
  • Cinnamon and Nutmeg: These spices are essential for authentic Greek flavor.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Adds a salty, nutty flavor to the béchamel sauce.

For the Béchamel Sauce

  • Butter: Forms the base of the roux.
  • Flour: Thickens the sauce.
  • Milk: The creaminess of whole milk enhances the sauce’s texture.
  • Egg Yolks: Help thicken and enrich the sauce, giving it a glossy finish.

Step-by-Step Cooking Process

Preparing the Pasta

  1. Boil the Pasta: Cook the pasta al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Season: Toss the pasta in a touch of olive oil and a pinch of nutmeg to enhance the flavor.

Making the Meat Sauce

  1. Sauté Aromatics: Begin by sautéing onions and garlic until translucent.
  2. Brown the Meat: Add the ground meat, breaking it apart. Cook until browned.
  3. Add Spices and Tomato Paste: Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, and tomato paste. Cook for a few minutes to develop the flavors.
  4. Simmer: Add a splash of red wine and let the sauce simmer to thicken slightly, enhancing its richness.

Crafting the Béchamel Sauce

  1. Make Roux: Melt butter in a saucepan, whisk in flour until smooth.
  2. Add Milk: Gradually add milk, stirring continuously to prevent lumps.
  3. Thicken Sauce: Cook until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
  4. Season and Enrich: Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg. Stir in beaten egg yolks and parmesan cheese off the heat.

Assembling the Pastitsio

  1. Layer the Pasta: Create a base layer of pasta in a greased baking dish.
  2. Add Meat Sauce: Spread the meat sauce evenly over the pasta.
  3. Top with More Pasta: Add another layer of pasta on top of the meat sauce.
  4. Cover with Béchamel Sauce: Pour the béchamel sauce over the top layer, smoothing out to cover completely.


  • Bake: Cook in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.
  • Rest: Allow the pastitsio to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. This helps the layers set, making it easier to serve.

Serving Suggestions

Pastitsio is best served warm, with a side of crusty bread and a fresh salad, such as a Greek salad with feta cheese and olives. It pairs wonderfully with a glass of robust red wine, enhancing the rich flavors of the dish.


Pastitsio is more than just a meal; it’s a beloved Greek tradition that brings people together. With its layers of flavorful meat, pasta, and creamy béchamel, it’s a dish meant to be shared and savored. Follow this guide to bring a taste of Greece into your home, and enjoy the process of cooking a dish that’s steeped in culinary tradition.

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