(Skip to Recipe)

What makes this Pasticcio Recipe Authentic?

Greek restaurants all over the world prepare Pasticcio (also known as Pastitsio or Pastichio).  Not surprisingly, families and taverns all over Greece also make it.  Most families follow a recipe passed on to them by a dear family member and then adjusted over time to satisfy personal taste.

 

What is Pasticcio?

Those unfamiliar with Pasticcio may wonder what is this romantic-sounding dish.  The easiest way to describe it would be as a Greek version of lasagna bolognese.   This is not entirely fair as a comparison.

In Greece, cooks customarily prepare Pasticcio with a special long and hollow pasta especially designed for this traditional Greek dish. Outside Greece, this special Pasticcio pasta is hard to find (see below for substitution suggestions). The meat sauce in Pasticcio contains fewer spices and vegetables than in Italian lasagna.  Ok, Pasticcio and lasagna bolognese are different dishes, even if they may share a couple points in common.

Pasticcio Pasta

 

Learning how to make Pasticcio from a friend

So let me return to my story about preparing an authentic Pasticcio recipe.   As many of you know, I’ve been staying in Xanthi, Greece a few weeks during my Journey to Greece.  An old university friend, Diamatis, and his family live in the city of Xanthi and generously offered me their home in a nearby village called Gerakas (population of 26 in 2001), in the Rodopi mountainside to the north of Xanthi.  The views from the Gerakas home are breathtaking.  Resting in this remote rustic setting has been exactly what I needed to rejuvenate.

Gerakas View

 

My friend’s wife, Thomais, is a magnificent cook and has graciously offered to teach me how to make some of her favorite family recipes.  So far, she has taught me three traditional Greek recipes:  Pasticcio, Gemista (Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes) and Papoutsakia (“Little Shoes” or Stuffed Eggplant).   Click on the above links to try these tasty authentic recipes brought from Thomais’ home to yours.  You will certainly be rewarded for your effort.

 

Pasticcio preparation

Preparing Pasticcio requires three basic steps before assembling and placing the dish into the oven: preparing the meat sauce, then the pasta, and last the improved Béchamel sauce.   None of these steps is very complicated or time consuming.  In less than an hour the Pasticcio will be ready to place into the oven.

Pasticcio with a special long noodle with a hollow center (see photo above).  Finding this exact noodle outside of Greece can be a challenge.  If you can’t find it, I’d recommend buying Anna Long Ziti Pasta #19 or using penne pasta or lasagna sheets.  The pasta should be semi-thick and long, if possible.

You can prepare this dish in advance and then bake it when it’s ready to be served.  Or cook it almost all the way in the oven and then store it in the refrigerator until the next day to be reheated before serving.

Try this authentic Pasticcio dish soon and share this reliable recipe with your friends using the social media buttons below.


Authentic Greek Pasticcio
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Prepare this homestyle Pasticcio recipe to bring a touch of Greece to your family's table. Enjoy the authenticity and flavor of this traditional Greek dish.
Chef:Belgian Foodie
Servings Prep Time
10people 40minutes
Women's RTRY 7 Round Outdoor US6 EU37 Shoes CN37 Combat Toe Black Fall Chunky 5 Boots Heel For Zipper 5 UK4 Boots Rubber 5 Cook Time
25minutes
  • Course
  • Cuisine
  • Season
Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
Meat Sauce
  1. Pour olive oil and butter into a hot pan over a high heat
  2. Add chopped onion and continue to cook about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add ground veal or beef meat and cook about 5 minutes until brown all over.
  4. Add nutmeg bay leaves, allspice, salt and pepper and continue to cook one minute.
  5. Add the tomato paste and tomato passata. Continue to cook a few minutes.
  6. Add water, mix and reduce heat to low. Continue to cook covered about 5 to 10 minutes until you have a thick sauce consistency.
Pasta
  1. Fill two-thirds (2/3) of a pot with water. Add olive oil and salt. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the Pasticcio pasta or lasagna pasta. Cook about 3 to 4 minutes less than time indicated on the pasta package. The pasta will still be a bit firm, as it will cook further in the oven.
  3. Strain the pasta.
  4. Add a little butter so the pasta doesn't stick to each other. Put aside.
Béchamel (improved)
  1. In a pot, mix with a whisk the milk, flour, butter, eggs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. All ingredients should be cold or at room temperature. Make sure to stir frequently to prevent lumps.
  2. Put the pot over a medium heat on the stove. Continue heating and stirring until you see small bubbles on top.
  3. Reduce heat and continue stirring until you reach a sauce consistency (like pancake batter). Remember, the sauce will probably thicken a little more when baking in the dish.
  4. Remove from heat. Add the cheese and mix.
Assembling the Dish
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F). Butter lightly a baking dish.
  2. Add half of the pasta on the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle a couple pinches of grated cheese.
  3. Add all the meat sauce on top of the pasta. Sprinkle a couple pinches of grated cheese.
  4. Add the remaining half of the pasta on top. Sprinkle a couple pinches of grated cheese.
  5. Pour all the improved béchamel sauce on top. Make sure everything is covered with the sauce.
  6. Put baking dish into the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly brown on top.
  7. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe Notes
  1.  Kefalotyri is a hard salty yellow cheese made of milk from goat and/or sheep.  You want this cheese to be aged at least 3 months so it can be grated.  If you do not have Kefalotyri cheese, try substituting with a medium-aged Romano Pecorino or Manchego cheese.  To me, these would be the most similar in taste.
  2. The amount of flour you add will depend on how thick you want your Béchamel sauce.  If you want a thicker, more consistent sauce, you may want to add about 10% to 20% more flour and increase the amount of butter accordingly.
Written by:Belgian Foodie

This Pasticcio uses Kefalotyri cheese. If you want to discover more about Greek cheeses read this article about 5 white Greek cheeses you should try.

Nutrition Facts
Authentic Greek Pasticcio
Amount Per Serving
Calories 616 Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 48%
Saturated Fat 15g 75%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Sodium 914mg 38%
Potassium 701mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 46g 15%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 14g
Protein 37g 74%
Vitamin A 25%
Vitamin C 14%
Calcium 38%
Iron 17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

9 thoughts on “Authentic Greek Pasticcio (Pastitsio)

    1. Hi, I hope you will enjoy making this yummy dish. If you do not have Kefalotyri cheese, try substituting with a medium-aged Romano Pecorino or Manchego cheese. The taste will still be very good. Kefalotyri cheese might be difficult to find where you are.

  1. I will be making this delicious Pastitsio this weekend for a family get together! Wish me luck! Thank you!

  2. Evening Belgian Foodie,

    Made this dish for an evening Mothers Day meal (4 moms here and several kids/grandkids around) and was a hit. My wife has never been fond of this dish as it usually has too much nutmeg in the sauce however with a mild tweak I have nothing left to send in some photos. Great recipe. We could not find kefaloytre and substituted with a high quality Romano. Only thing I will adjust next time we cook is allowing more time to cook the bechamel, it was a little thin for my liking.
    Overall, great recipe, great dish!

    1. Hello Mark, thanks so much for your positive feedback! I’m honored you chose this recipe for your Mother’s Day meal! This Pasticcio recipe is one of the most popular on this site. It always helps to hear from people who have tried the recipe. It sounds like you adapted it very well. For the Bechamel, let it cook until you get the thickness desired. It won’t be the same amount of time for everybody as there are other factors in play. I’d love to hear your feedback if you make it again.

    1. Hello Shep, how much extra sauce did you have? People have different preferences re: how saucy they want their Pasticcio. The one I made with my Greek friend used this amount. I can understand it might be too much for you. I’d like to read how much extra you had. I will try making it again and see what happens. Thanks.

      1. The recipe has a lot to do with ones conditions. What type of pan you use, how deep it is, how thick is your bechamel sauce. Ideally you need a two finger hight bechamel layer. But that changes to liking and how deep your pan is. Also if the sauce is not thick enough it will run through the pasta; a small layer of grated cheese before the bechamel sauce might help if the sauce is not too thick.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For Black Chunky Combat Outdoor Zipper 5 Heel 5 Boots 5 Toe Fall Shoes RTRY Rubber Women's Boots UK4 CN37 Round EU37 US6 7

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.