Greek Pastitsio Casserole

A twitter friend tweeted that she made a great Pastitsio casserole for dinner. I have never tried Pastitsio, so I was intrigued. I looked over several recipes and decided to give it a try.

There are three components to this dish – pasta, meat sauce and béchamel sauce. This takes a little bit of work, but it is SOOO worth it! The most unique thing about this dish, to me, is the cinnamon in the meat sauce. It gives the dish a real distinct flavor.

I made this dish all at one time. It takes a while. It is something I would make on a weekend when I had more time. Next time I might make this on a Sunday and refrigerate for dinner on Monday night.

serves 8
(Printable Recipe)

  • 8 oz ziti, cooked
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 6 oz shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (8oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 4 cups milk (1% is fine)
  • 2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan. Set aside.

Toss hot pasta with 3 Tbsp of butter and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Pour into prepared pan.

Cook ground beef, onion and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain. Stir in tomato sauce, 3/4 tsp salt, cinnamon and pepper. Spread over pasta in prepared pan.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Whisk in milk. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick and bubbly. Stir in remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Remove from heat.

Whisk eggs until thick and pale. Whisk about 1 cup of milk mixture into eggs. Pour into remaining milk mixture and whisk constantly until combined.

Pour milk mixture over pasta sauce. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 1 hour or until golden brow.

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  1. We have a spagehtti sauce recipe with cinnamon that my sister-in-law's father got from an Itailian family. It is really good.

  2. Thank you!! I just had this a couple of weeks ago at a Greek restaurant and I have been craving it ever since! Now I can make it 🙂

  3. I went to the Greek festival in Richmond, VA many years ago when I lived there, and purchased a cookbook that was put together by the ladies of the church. There are a handful of recipes that I make from that book, and one of them is pastitsio. The whole family LOVES it!! To answer babs' question, the bechamel topping (in the recipe I make anyway) is custardish–it's very soft.

    1. Hi Emily! I live in Richmond (used to live in the apartments directly adjacent to the church) and our Greek Festival is still going strong! I've also enjoyed their pastitsio.

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