Greek Pastitsio Pasta Casserole

Greek Pastitsio Pasta Casserole | All that's Jas

 

Greek Pastitsio Pasta Casserole is super delicious with great Mediterranean flavors, baked to golden perfection with rich and wonderful béchamel sauce that will have everyone begging for seconds.

 

Greek Pastitsio Pasta Casserole is super delicious with great Mediterranean flavors of lamb, cinnamon, oregano, and cumin, baked to golden perfection with rich and wonderful béchamel sauce that will have everyone begging for seconds. | allthatsjas.com | #greek #pastitsio #greeklasagna #casserole #pasta #NoodlesWithoutBorders #dinner #recipe #pastabake #ziti #worldfood #allthatsjas

 

It’s time for Noodles Without Borders again! Today I’m taking you on a taste travel to Greece! In case you’re new here, let me fill you in.

 

I started this monthly Noodles Without Borders in August with my friend Bobbi from Healthy World Cuisine. The idea is to cook pasta from around the world for as long as there is a supply of pasta recipes. So buckle your seatbelts, it’s going to be a long but delectable ride! Make sure to visit Bobbi and see what country she is cooking today!

 

Why pasta? Nothing quite warms the soul like a plate of pasta, whether it’s baked, cooked in a soup, laced with a delicious sauce or tossed with vegetables, cheese, pesto or salad dressing. Don’t you agree?

 

Life is a combination of magic and pasta. – Federico Fellini

 

If you’re a lover of lasagna and baked ziti or casseroles in general, you have to try this Greek pasta recipe: Greek Pastitsio casserole! You’ll find it under different names like Greek lasagna, Greek Pastichio, Greek pasta bake, and Greek noodle moussaka and using different types of pasta.

 

How to make Pastitsio?

 

This pasta casserole has a base of ziti, then a layer of cheese, a layer of ground lamb cooked with tomato, cinnamon, and oregano, more cheese, ziti, and then topped with béchamel sauce and, of course, more cheese.

 

How to make Greek pasta casserole, Pastitsio

 

Speaking of cheese, a confession: I couldn’t find Kasseri or Kefalotiri cheese to make this pasta casserole as authentic Greek pastitsio as it gets and planned on using mozzarella (which I always have tons of in my fridge) only to find, halfway through the process, that I didn’t have enough. Ugh. I used cheddar instead and I don’t think it altered the taste at all.

 

Béchamel sauce is a milk-based sauce with a pinch of nutmeg seasonings that is rich, smooth and helps fight off those winter blues. I hope you like my little rhyme there.

 

What is Pastitsio?

 

What’s fun about this recipe is that Pastitsio is translated to mean a “mess.” If you’ve ever made a baked pasta dish, and tried to cut out a perfect square, you’ve watched in horror as it collapses into a pile when you get it on a plate. It will still taste delicious, but it’s so disheartening. Thus, it’s best to let it cool completely, cut and reheat. There won’t be any mess there. 😉

 

Like many recipes, you can adjust this to your taste. If you really don’t want to use lamb (even though it is highly recommended), ground beef works too. Seasoned ground lamb is delicious with cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and garlic, and would you look at that? That’s what I used to season it in this recipe!

 

baked pastitsio

 

Why you need Pastitsio

 

This Greek pastitsio recipe is at the top of my list for “big, hearty, warm-your-soul-with-some-pasta” recipes on my blog. If you don’t think I have that as a subcategory for my list of recipes, well, now I do. I live in Northern Indiana and our winters here are so dang cold.

 

You don’t want a salad or a healthy, light recipe for dinner after you’ve been running errands outside in the cold the whole day. No, that’s nonsense. You want a big serving of this hot, melty, and perfectly seasoned pasta bake. Trust me, you do! It’s the ultimate comfort food.

 

I have never been one of those people who keep all of their foods separated on their plate. Throw at all in a pan with some sauce, heat it up, and I’m all for it.

 

Speaking of sauces, the final and top layer of this GREEK PASTITSIO recipe is a creamy, beautiful béchamel sauce. Cheese is your final step before placing your baking pan in the oven. This way, your Pastitsio comes out golden brown on top and extra rich.

 

With any fantastic pasta dish, I usually recommend toasting up a quality loaf of bread but this Greek pasta dish is super rich. Preparing just a light greens salad as a side would suffice. Wine is highly recommended as well, but do not expect to have room for dessert. But if you do after eating this meal, kudos to you!

 

This post might contain some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

 

Greek Pastitsio Pasta Casserole

Rich #pasta #casserole that feeds a crowd this Greek Pastitsio is the ultimate #comfort food. #NoodlesWithoutBorders #greek #pastistio #recipe Click To Tweet

 

Rich pasta casserole that feeds a crowd this Greek Pastitsio is the ultimate comfort food.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound uncooked ziti pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground lamb (or beef)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups shredded cheese (see tips below)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Béchamel sauce

  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

 

~ Free Tip ~ 

  • Traditional pastitsio uses Kasseri or Kefalotiri cheese. If you have troubles locating Greek cheese, sub with Romano pecorino, mozzarella, mild cheddar or provolone.
  • You can use any tube style pasta such as penne, bucatini, or Misko.
  • You’ll need a deep baking dish, like a lasagna pan
  • If you want to get that great visual appeal when you slice it to serve, layer pasta in the same direction (wear a pair of rubber gloves).
  • This dish freezes very well, in case you don’t need to feed 8-10 people, or you can split the ingredients in half.  
  • Make it ahead: assemble it a day ahead and refrigerate it.

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook pasta in salted water according to directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cool the pasta down and stir in the beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the ground lamb and cook with the onions until browned, breaking it down to crumble. Stir in the tomato sauce, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a deep casserole dish with nonstick spray.
  4. Scoop half of the pasta into the bottom of your prepared dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese. Pour the meat mixture to create an even layer and sprinkle with a cup of cheese. Add the remaining pasta on top of the meat and sprinkle with another cup of cheese! Top with the béchamel sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  5. Bake 45 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and golden on top. Let sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving (or refrigerate to let the layers set and then warm up later to serve).

Béchamel sauce

  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour and then gradually whisk in the hot milk. Cook, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool. When the sauce is lukewarm, whisk in the eggs.

 

Baked pasta casserole Greek style, aka Pastitsio with lamb

Delicious recipe for Greek pasta lasagna

Greek Pastitsio Pasta Casserole
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Resting Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
 
Rich pasta casserole that feeds a crowd this Greek Pastitsio is the ultimate comfort food.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Servings: 8 -10
Author: Jas
Ingredients
  • 1 pound uncooked ziti pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground lamb or beef
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 can 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 4 cups shredded cheese see tips below
  • salt and pepper to taste
Béchamel sauce
  • 1/2 cup butter cubed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs beaten
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta in salted water according to directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cool the pasta down and stir in the beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the ground lamb and cook with the onions until browned, breaking it down to crumble. Stir in the tomato sauce, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.

  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a deep casserole dish with nonstick spray.
  4. Scoop half of the pasta into the bottom of your prepared dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese. Pour the meat mixture to create an even layer and sprinkle with a cup of cheese. Add the remaining pasta on top of the meat and sprinkle with another cup of cheese! Top with the béchamel sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  5. Bake 45 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and golden on top. Let sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving (or refrigerate to let the layers set and then warm up later to serve).
Béchamel sauce
  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour and then gradually whisk in the hot milk. Cook, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool. When the sauce is lukewarm, whisk in the eggs.
Recipe Notes

~ Free Tip ~

  • Traditional pastitsio uses Kasseri or Kefalotiri cheese. If you have troubles locating Greek cheese, sub with Romano pecorino, mozzarella, mild cheddar or provolone.
  • You can use any tube style pasta such as penne, bucatini, or Misko.
  • You'll need a deep baking dish, like a lasagna pan.
  • If you want to get that great visual appeal when you slice it to serve, layer pasta in the same direction (wear a pair of rubber gloves).
  • This dish freezes very well, in case you don't need to feed 8-10 people, or you can split the ingredients in half.
  • Make it ahead: assemble it a day ahead and refrigerate it.

 

Featured on A Pinch of Joy and Oh My Heartsie Girl.

 

KEEP IN TOUCH, GET UPDATES AND FREEBIES BY SUBSCRIBING TO ALL THAT’S JAS MAILING LIST BELOW! 💌

 

Follow me

Jas

publisher and creative director at All that's Jas
Jas is a cheesecake addict and the author of Balkan Comfort Food cookbook available on Amazon. You can download a free excerpt of the book when you subscribe to All that's Jas newsletter updates or purchase the full version below. To learn more about Jas visit her About page.
Follow me

Latest posts by Jas (see all)

Previous Story
Next Story

23 Comment

  1. Reply
    Healthy World Cuisine
    September 4, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Jas, this is a stunning dish. Easy enough for weeknights and classy enough for guests. Love it! We also love lamb so this will for sure be a hit in our family. Pinning to all of our favorite boards.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      September 5, 2018 at 9:07 am

      Thank you, my dear! It feeds a crowd but it easily freezes. 🙂

  2. Reply
    Ron
    September 5, 2018 at 8:31 am

    Boy, if you continue with the “Pasta Without Borders” posts until the pasta recipes run old, you’re going to be doing this forever. I like that. Great lovers of pasta in our house as well as lamb, so your Pastitsio will be on our table soon.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      September 5, 2018 at 9:12 am

      It seems that way, doesn’t it? LOL. I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as we did, Ron. Thanks for stopping in!

  3. Reply
    Mary-The Boondocks Blog
    September 5, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Jas this one is a big, big hit in our house. The only difference is that I use the thick spaghetti with the holes in them. Some of my friends also use an egg white to help the pasta to stick together. But I don’t bother, I like my pastitsio to be messy! And I learned a few things too. I had no idea that’s where the name came from. What kind of a Greek am I? We make this one twice a month and it is perfect comfort food!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      September 5, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      Like Misko pasta? I used something similar the first time I made it but it didn’t hold its shape even though I mixed the pasta with a whole egg, as per this recipe. I don’t mind messy pasta either, but when it’s this pretty it’s double-worthy of serving it to the guests. 🙂

  4. Reply
    Miz Helen
    September 6, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Your Greek Casserole looks delicious and we will really enjoy this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing with us on Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend!
    Miz Helen

    1. Reply
      Jas
      September 9, 2018 at 9:45 pm

      Thank you, kindly!

  5. Reply
    passion fruit, paws and peonies
    September 6, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    I love this recipe – it is such a comforting meal and the sort of dish I’d order from a Greek restaurant with a crispy green salad – yum xx Maria

    1. Reply
      Jas
      September 9, 2018 at 9:45 pm

      It is, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping in, Maria! x

  6. Reply
    Jann Olson
    September 7, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    I’ve never heard of this, but it looks so interesting and yummy! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

    1. Reply
      Jas
      September 9, 2018 at 9:47 pm

      A richer, but not less delicious, version of a classic pasta casserole. 🙂 Hope you’ll give it a try!

  7. Reply
    Helen at the Lazy Gastrome
    September 9, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Jas – that looks so good! How do you do the fast little slide show? I like that. And thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party. I appreciate you being there every week!!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      September 9, 2018 at 9:49 pm

      Thank you, Helen! Do you mean the GIF? I upload my photos in Photoshop and create the GIF file from them. In lieu of a video which I still have to master (at some point, lol). 🙂

  8. Reply
    PantryPortfolio
    September 9, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    This is beautiful! A perfect dish for fall. Thank you for sharing at FiestaFriday!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      September 9, 2018 at 9:50 pm

      Super glad you like it! It is a perfect comfort dish for fall and winter. 🙂 xx

  9. Reply
    Lily
    September 10, 2018 at 9:26 am

    This is one of my favorite dishes to order from any Greek restaurant and you make look so easy! Pinned for later:)

    1. Reply
      Jas
      September 12, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      Hi Lily, this dish has its layers (literally, ha) but it’s not hard to make. Hope you give it a try! 🙂

  10. Reply
    DearCreatives (@DearCreatives)
    September 12, 2018 at 1:55 am

    This recipe looks amazing, although I would try it with beef. Thanks for sharing at the #inspirationspotlight @dearcreatives pinned, and sharing.

  11. Reply
    acraftymix
    September 13, 2018 at 1:33 am

    I could sure do with a plate full of your casserole right now. That looks so delicious Jas and I’m going to remember your tip for getting the cut pasta to look all square and nice 😉

    1. Reply
      Jas
      September 13, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      Only if you want perfectly stacked pasta, lol. Thanks, my friend! Hugs

  12. Reply
    Jodie Fitz
    September 19, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    YUM. Thanks for sharing at Reader Tip Tuesday.
    We can’t wait to see what you have to share at this week’s party. xo
    http://www.jodiefitz.com/2018/09/18/reader-tip-tuesday-weeks-craft-recipe-party-14-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2/

    1. Reply
      Jas
      September 20, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      The Greeks know how to enjoy food, that’s for sure. 😀

Your visits and your comments are greatly appreciated. I LOVE reading them, they motivate me to keep going and keep improving. If you have a question, please feel free to leave it here, email me, or message me on Facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by at All that's Jas, so let's talk :)