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Pastichio, a beloved Greek casserole, is a symphony of flavors and textures. Layers of savory ground meat, creamy béchamel sauce, and al dente pasta combine for a dish that’s both comforting and impressive. This recipe delivers an authentic version, perfect for a hearty family meal or a potluck showstopper.


Pastitsio (Greek beef pasta bake) - RecipeTin Eats
Pastitsio (Greek beef pasta bake) – RecipeTin Eats

1 pound ground beef (or lamb, for a richer flavor)

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 box (1 pound) elbow macaroni or other short pasta shape
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated kefalotyri cheese (or substitute with pecorino romano)

  • Instructions:

    1. Prepare the Meat Sauce: In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground meat and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned. Drain any excess fat.
    2. Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
    3. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, red wine (if using), beef broth, oregano, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly.
    4. Cook the Pasta: While the sauce simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain and set aside.

    5. Make the Béchamel Sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, to form a roux.
    6. Slowly whisk in the warmed milk, a little at a time, until the sauce is smooth and thickens. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
    7. Assemble the Pastichio: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Spread a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of the dish. Top with half of the cooked pasta. Pour half of the béchamel sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle with half of the Parmesan cheese and half of the kefalotyri cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with a layer of cheese.

    8. Bake: Bake the pastichio for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly on top. Let cool slightly before serving.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving):

    Calories: Approximately 500 (depending on specific ingredients used)

  • Fat: 25g
  • Saturated Fat: 15g
  • Cholesterol: 80mg
  • Sodium: 500mg
  • Carbohydrates: 50g
  • Protein: 30g

  • Tips:

    For a vegetarian option, substitute lentils or crumbled tempeh for the ground meat.

  • Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheated in the oven.
  • Pastichio can also be frozen before baking. Allow to thaw completely before baking according to instructions.

  • Conclusion

    This authentic pastichio recipe is sure to become a family favorite. It’s a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed year-round. With its rich flavors and satisfying textures, it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. So grab your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to experience the taste of Greece!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. Can I use a different type of pasta for pastichio?

    Yes, you can use any short pasta shape you like. Penne, rigatoni, and farfalle are all good options.

    2. What if I don’t have kefalotyri cheese?

    You can substitute pecorino romano cheese for kefalotyri. The flavor won’t be exactly the same, but it will still be delicious.

    3. Do I have to use red wine in the sauce?

    No, the red wine is optional. You can omit it altogether or substitute with additional beef broth.

    4. Can I make pastichio ahead of time?