Pastitsio

A Main-dish recipe, by Gina Lioti.

This is a healthy recipe! See why.
9 servings
prep
cooking

Here’s why you’re going to love this

The recommended pasta for this dish you can find in deli shops: De Cecco's Zita nr. 18.

You can find pastitsio recipes that are as complicated as they come, with peppers and cinnamon and complicated bechamel sauces, but this dish has layers by itself, it already combines three different dishes and adding more than what's needed just makes it unnecessarily heavy. Just make sure you use good quality ingredients.

You can cook pastitsio to serve many people, just double the ingredients (which, of course, is the "normal" recipe in Greece!) and you can serve as many as 16 people, with decent sized portions. It is also great cold and you can pack it as lunch the next day for work. Or take it on a picnic with you.

The dish I am using for these quantities is 30 cm x 23 cm with 6,5 cm height.

It is a recipe worth trying, if you have never had the chance to try pastitsio before.

I write the steps in the order that they should be cooked: the mince first, then the pasta and lastly the sauce. You can also use a combination of beef/pork mince, if you can. If not, any of the two is fine, depending on your preference. In the mince, you can add red wine, grated carrots, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, chilli flakes or grated fresh red peppers, but it is all optional.

Ingredients

Tip: Click on ingredients to discover more recipes!

Mince ingredients:

Pasta ingredients:

Bechamel sauce ingredients:

Top ingredients:

Instructions

Mince instructions:

  1. Wash the tomatoes and cut the stems. Cut the tomatoes into bite size pieces. Using a food processor or a stick blender, turn them into a pulp.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium and add your mince, stirring with a wooden spoon to break down the biggest pieces. When the meat has turned white, add the tomato pulp, butter and sea salt, pepper and oregano.
  3. Allow it to cook thoroughly on medium heat, for about an hour, stirring occasionally, adding a little hot water if needed. If at the end it is too watery, heat in on high for a few minutes.
  4. Set it aside.

Pasta instructions:

  1. In another saucepan, heat water with a tablespoon of olive oil and salt and when it starts boiling add the pasta.
  2. Meanwhile drizzle your baking dish with a little olive oil, or add a few teaspoons of butter, or both and prepare the ingredients for the sauce, butter, flour and milk.
  3. When the pasta is done – I found it takes 5 minutes more than the recommended time until they are tender – strain them and line your baking dish with them. Top them with the cooked mince, covering them completely and if you want grate some Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese on top.

Bechamel sauce instructions:

  1. In a small saucepan, on medium heat, melt the butter. Preheat oven at 190 degrees Celsius.
  2. Using a whisk, add the flour a tablespoon at a time, stirring continuously. If the mixture is lumpy, stir until smooth and add the milk, salt and pepper (just a pinch of each). Turn the heat on medium high. This sauce sticks to the pan quite quickly if you don't stir it, so don't leave it until it is done, it only takes a few minutes. You want a smooth, fairly thick sauce.
  3. As soon as the sauce is ready, pour it on top of the mince, in the middle of the baking dish. It usually spreads and covers the whole dish, but if not, help it a little with the back side of a spoon, making sure it is all covered. Again, grate some Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese, but it is optional.

Final instructions:

  1. Bake in the preheated oven, at 190 degrees Celsius for about 30-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
  2. Now this is the hardest part. You are supposed to allow it to cool, so that the pieces come out in cubes. If you can do that, great, congratulations. If you cannot, your plate will be a heaping mess of pasta, mince and sauce, but it will be as tasty as the perfectly cubed piece, so if there are no guests or judges, enjoy it!

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Complementary recipes

With every new recipe, I hand–pick dishes that complement it well. You can enjoy Pastitsio with any of the following.

Mince recipes

Love mince? Here are 3 more recipes with mince as an ingredient.

Main recipes

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Thank you!
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