My Big Fat Greek Pastitsio

"This is real comfort food! I love this meaty, rich casserole. I must warn you - you will probably end up with very messy kitchen after making this, but it is worth it. Named in honor of the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" which celebrates Greek culture. I have been making this homestyle Greek recipe for many years, but it originally came from one of my favorite military community cookbooks, "Enough to Feed an Army." Prep time allows for cooking the macaroni and chopping the onions & garlic."
photo by mickeydownunder photo by mickeydownunder
photo by mickeydownunder
photo by mickeydownunder photo by mickeydownunder
photo by mickeydownunder photo by mickeydownunder
Ready In:
1hr 40mins




  • In a nonstick skillet sprayed with nonstick spray, saute the onion over medium-high heat until translucent, 2-3 minutes or so.
  • Add meat to the pan and cook over medium heat until browned all the way through; drain fat.
  • Add tomato sauce, garlic,just 1 tsp of the cinnamon, and some salt to taste.
  • Simmer on low heat 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter.
  • Once the butter has melted, stir in the flour, whisking until blended.
  • Remove pan from heat and whisk in the milk slowly until blended.
  • Return pan to heat and let simmer over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring often,or until thick and smooth.
  • Remove sauce from heat and let cool slightly.
  • In a bowl, beat eggs and then add small portion of the cream sauce, whisking quickly as you do.
  • Whisk in a bit more of the sauce, then add all the rest and whisk well until smooth.
  • (You can to be careful not to add too much at first or you will cook the eggs.) Season sauce with some salt& pepper and a dash of nutmeg to taste, mixing well.
  • Grease a 9x13" casserole with deep sides well and place hot macaroni in it.
  • Top with meat sauce, then sprinkle meat sauce with remaining 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • Pour cream sauce over all to cover.
  • You may need to shake the pan a little to make everything settle in (not too hard- you don't want sauce flying everywhere).
  • You may have a little extra cream sauce left over, depending on how deep your pan is.
  • Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for approximately 40 minutes or until custard is firm (no jiggling).
  • Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Questions & Replies

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  1. This was delicious! Although lengthy to prepare, it was easy to make. Be careful to note in step 8, when you are to cook your cream sauce until it is "thick and smooth", the sauce may seem thin. Your instincts may tell you to thicken the sauce more with something. Don't! It is perfect as it is. When all is finished you will have a perfect, wonderful pastitsio. Thanks, Heather, for a great recipe!
  2. There wasn't any cheese like kefalitori or parmesan
  3. While I've tasted better, this was pretty darned good. You will need every minute of prep and cook time. Don't let the long ingredient and step list put you off, making this dish really is easier than it looks.
  4. We all enjoyed this very much. A nice cold day for a new food adventure. Followed the recipe to a T. No trouble with the sauce, mine thickened up nicely - didn't make a mess! - and we have leftovers for another meal. The best part was that my Kiddo said;"Don't be surprised if I don't eat this." (because of the cinnamon) but she ate two helpings. Thanks!
  5. Thank you Heather for posting this great recipe! I have been looking for this forever. I did not change a thing. My custard layer didn't turn out as thick as it need to be but I think that was my fault. It still tasted awesome and I impressed my Greek husband and his whole family. Thanks again!!



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