3.77 from 13 votes
Yiayia's Pastitsio Recipe
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins

Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Servings: 12 servings
  • 1 1/2 Pounds of Ground Beef Or Ground Turkey
  • 1 lb. Pasta I used bucatini pasta, but you can also sub penne or rigatoni
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomato
  • 1 tbsp. OIive oil
  • 1 Medium Onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
Bechamel Sauce:
  • 4 Cups 2% Milk
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 Stick Butter 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • Dash of nutmeg
Preparing the Meat Sauce:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large dutch oven, cooking pasta according to package instructions. Once pasta is cooked and drained. Add back to dutch oven and coat with a splash of olive oil to keep noodles from sticking. Cover and set aside.
  3. This is the correct amount of salt needed to make delicious tasting pasta!
    Yiayia's Pastitio Recipe
  4. In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil and add in ground beef and onions. Saute until ground beef is browned and onions are translucent.
    Yiayia's Pastitsio Recipe
  5. Stir in salt, pepper, and cinnamon.
  6. Stir in tomato. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off fire and move pan aside.
    Vayia's Kitchen - Yiayia's Pastitsio Recipe
Preparing the Bechamel Sauce:
  1. In a dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Make a roux (Flour and butter mixture to thicken bechamel sauce). Stir in flour and continue to stir until its coated in butter. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring gently.
    Prepare the Bechamel Sauce - Yiayia's Pastitsio
  3. Then, In a large microwave bowl, warm 4 cups of milk in microwave for about one minute. Add in two eggs and whisk well.

  4. Turn heat to medium high and whisk milk mixture into flour/butter. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  5. Whisk constantly to smooth out any lumps and prevent the mixture from sticking.
  6. Keep your full attention on this step, as the mixture needs to constantly be whisked. It takes about 5 minutes or so for it to thicken. Once it thickens and reaches a pancake batter consistently turn off flame and remove from stove.
    Yiayia's Pastitsio Recipe - Whish the Bechamel Sauce
Assembling the Pastitsio
  1. NOTE: You will need either TWO 9 x 12 dishes or one DEEP 10 x 13 dish to properly fit the mixture and prevent the bechamel from overspilling.
  2. Next, spread about 1/2 cup meat sauce on bottom of pan -- just enough to cover the bottom.

  3. Layer half of the noodles and top with the meat sauce and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
    Yiayia's Pastitsio - Layer the Noodles - Vayia's Kitchen
  4. Layer the remaining noodles.
  5. Pour the bechamel sauce on top of the noodles evenly to cover.
    Yiayia's Pastitsio - Ready for the Oven - Vayia's Kitchen
  6. Lastly, sprinkle 1 cup of parmesan evenly on top of the bechamel sauce.

  7. Bake covered for 20 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 30-45 minutes, or until the top of the bechamel is golden brown.
    Yiayia's Pastitsio Recipe
Recipe Notes

Let the dish sit for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.