Pastitsio (Oamc)

"A great pasta and ground beef casserole. Hearty and delicious. The beauty of this recipe (besides great taste) is it's ability to freeze (and defrost) so well, with no loss of flavour, making it ideal for OAMC (once a month cooking)."
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by eabeler photo by eabeler
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by eabeler photo by eabeler
Ready In:




  • For the meat sauce, put some olive oil in a large pot; saute onion until lightly browned; add garlic; add meat and cook until brown, crumbling with a fork; add remaining meat sauce ingredients to skillet; mix well; cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until quite thick; let mixture cool; remove and discard cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
  • Prepare pasta by boiling until al dente in plenty of boiling, salted water; drain and place pasta in a large bowl; add butter, milk, eggs and 1/2 cup cheese; gently stir to coat; set aside.
  • To prepare bechamel sauce, melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan; stir in flour until smooth, cook, whisking for 2 minutes; gradually add milk, stirring, until thickened; lower heat; add salt, pepper and nutmeg; remove from heat.
  • In medium-sized bowl, beat 3 eggs; slowly add hot cream sauce to eggs; stir thoroughly so eggs don't curdle.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F and butter or oil (with olive oil) a large baking pan (my pan is about 18" x 10").
  • Empty 1/2 of the penne mixture over bottom of pan; cover evenly with all of meat sauce; sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over meat sauce; add remaining penne mixture, spreading evenly; sprinkle another 1/3 of the cheese over top; pour bechamel sauce evenly over entire casserole; top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake until bechamel sauce sets and has golden-brown patches across top, approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour; cool at least 20 minutes before cutting into pieces for serving.
  • Freezer Notes: Once the baked pastitsio has completely cooked, cut serving-size pieces, double-wrap in foil and freeze. Defrost in the usual manner and reheat in microwave (or oven) for a delicious, quick meal, when there's little time to cook and dinner is ready and waiting in the freezer!

Questions & Replies

  1. Is this capable of being frozen after baking? If so, any suggestions on the best way to do this? Thanks for help.
  2. Would this work in individual casserole dishes? Thinking about this for a dinner party.


  1. We have made this three time now; a five star winner. This does not fit in any 9x13 pan ; it fits perfectly in an Emeril Henry lasagna dish, which is larger and deeper . I have also used an attractive aluminum roasting pan. Adding a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a pinch of ground cloves brings it to the flavor of Greek restaurant food in my area. I have made this with Original EggBeaters to accommodate a friend's egg yolk allergy and it is still excellent. I have used a mix of ground meats; now prefer 1 lb. beef and 1/2 lb. each of pork and lamb.
  2. this is a great family dinner and i only made a few changes to lower the fat. i cooked the meat sauce but drained the fat before i added the tomatoes and the other ingredients. to the pasta i only added 1 c of skim milk and 4 tbsp butter, that was more than enough. i made the bechamel with skim milk too, and for the cheese i used a mixture of romano, parmesan and feta. i browned the top under the broiler for 2 minutes at the end. the first few portions didn't hold their shape, but as it cooled it was much easier to serve. this is labor intensive but worth it, everyone had seconds!
  3. Excellent. It has a gorgeous flavor from the seasoning. I used ground turkey, 1/3 of the butter in the pasta and skim milk throughout. Also, used parmesan cheese. My husband wants me to make again with ground beef and lamb. I think we actually have 14-16 servings from this. My only trouble was trying to find 2 pans that could fit this properly. Eventually put it in a 9 x 13 and an 8 x 8. Both overflowed slightly. Thanks Evelyn for a meal that everyone likes.
  4. I also used elbows, because that's what I had, and lowfat milk. I let it sit on the stove for about 20 minutes before cutting it, and it was easy to serve that way. Very delicious meal, a hit with the whole family!
  5. This was wonderful. No need to go out for Pastitsio again. I can now make my own. I made 1/2 of the recipe and used elbow noodles and added an 8 ounce can of tomatoe sauce. I did not have cinnamon stick so i used 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. We will be having this often. You do need to let this sit for at least 20 minutes before you cut it. This would be great for a party because it makes a lot and it does stay warm for a long time.


  1. This was delicious! I halved the recipe for my family of 4 and I still had leftovers! I used 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon instead of the cinnamon stick, as I was short on time. I simmered for 30 minutes instead of an hour. The kids even liked it and they are extremely picky! Thanks Evelyn for a winner!
  2. Good recipe. If you have a good Middle Eastern or International market, you can purchase regular pastitsio noodles. I also use Kasseri in place of Kefalotiri or a combination of the two and increase the cheese to a full cup (or more!). Instead of red wine is use Greek Retsinaand increase to 3/4 c. I use tomato paste in place of the canned tomatoes. Did like this recipe, though.


<style>body { background: url(""); background-repeat: repeat-y; }</style> OK, here goes. I live in Athens, Greece. I moved out here many, many years ago from Ottawa, Canada - so I am blessed in having two wonderful heritages! I suffer from compulsive obsessive behaviour with regard to food and my psychiatrist thought it would be a good idea to find a 'society' where many have the same problem and try to find a cure. So far, I've copied a couple of thousand recipes from this site and my psychiatrist has thrown the towel in and refuses to answer the phone when I call. What did I do wrong? Got 3 kids that keep me on the go - 10 and under at this point (2008) - I may not get round to updating this for a few years, so you'll have to do your own maths. I teach English full-time and Greek Cookery part-time. I would like to make the cooking part of it full-time and the English Grammar part of it part-time. That's all for now.
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