Pastitsio (slightly revamped)

February 25, 2009 · 36 comments

in beef,greek,pasta

I’d venture to say that pastitsio is one of the most popular Greek dishes. It’s right up there with spanakopita as my most requested  recipe, or the dish others tell me they order in Greek restaurants. Pastitsio is basically the Greek’s version of lasagna. It’s a layered dish of pasta (traditionally, bucatini/good ol’ Misko No. 2), slightly spicy meat sauce, and a cheesy bechamel.  My yiayia usually added a few breadcrumbs on top (in addition to more cheese), so I do that, too.

If you’ve followed my blog long enough, you may remember the first time I posted pastitsio based on my grandma’s “recipe.” I’ve modified this recipe a bit since then (but if you want to see the original source, my yiayia, click here :-P).  I noticed my friend Peter was asked to be on the judging panel for a “Taste of the Mediterranean,” sponsored  by igourmet. The Greek dish for this event is pastitsio, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to make it (I’d  been craving it, anyway) and update the version in my blog.  If you would like to make your own version of pastitsio and participate in this event, you can see the details in Peter’s blog, as well as Tony’s, but hurry up because you only have a few more days!

Every version of pastitsio I’ve had has had an aromatic, spicy meatsauce, and mine is no different. I think without the spice, this turns into your standard lasagna with bechamel on top.  I make the meatsauce very similarly to the way I make the kima for pasta. It’s a very thick, flavorful sauce and  holds up well against the creaminess of the bechamel. Sometimes I have whole cloves around, sometimes I have allspice berries, sometimes I only have ground…this is really about what you have and how you want it to taste. Play around with the amount to suit your tastes. To someone not used to cinnamony/clovey meatsauce, you may want to reduce the amounts. Who am I to school you on your tastebuds? After all, this blog is about learning both for me and for you – why do you think I have adapted my own version over the last two years?!

Tom and I both love pastitsio. To me, it’s comforting not only because it’s pasta, slow cooked meatsauce and creamy bechamel, but because it reminds me of home.

If you can’t find kefalotyri or myzithra, just use a good salty cheese like pecorino romano or parmesan. Just please no green can! :)

Now, I will say that pastitsio should be a little taller that the pics you see here. I decided to make mine in a larger pan (too large) because I wanted to get more pieces out of it. The pan I used was about 14.5×12″ so I’d recommend a smaller pan if you want to make a higher pastitsio, with a thicker layers.  I’d recommend the larger pan if you’re like me and like to make yourself think  you’re eating more food than you really are because it takes up more surface area on your plate. :)

I did freeze a few pieces of this for easy access when I don’t feel like cooking, but want something delicious, anyway.

 

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Joelen February 25, 2009 at 8:51 am

I can’t wait to make this! I’ve given up meat for Lent so I’ll have to make this in April… yum!!

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Joelen February 25, 2009 at 8:51 am

I can’t wait to make this! I’ve given up meat for Lent so I’ll have to make this in April… yum!!

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bakinandeggs February 25, 2009 at 9:58 am

This looks amazing and is definitely going on next week’s menu. We love Greek dishes and I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!!!

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bakinandeggs February 25, 2009 at 9:58 am

This looks amazing and is definitely going on next week’s menu. We love Greek dishes and I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!!!

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Lindsey February 25, 2009 at 10:13 am

I love you. By total chance, a few weeks ago I found real pastitsio noodles in my rather limited grocery store and snatched them up. But I haven’t had a recipe so I could actually use them, so they’ve just been sitting in my cupborad. Thank you so much for posting this recipe!

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Lindsey February 25, 2009 at 10:13 am

I love you. By total chance, a few weeks ago I found real pastitsio noodles in my rather limited grocery store and snatched them up. But I haven’t had a recipe so I could actually use them, so they’ve just been sitting in my cupborad. Thank you so much for posting this recipe!

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Bellini Vallo February 25, 2009 at 11:06 am

I absolutely love your version of pastitsio Elly.

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Bellini Vallo February 25, 2009 at 11:06 am

I absolutely love your version of pastitsio Elly.

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Kanella February 25, 2009 at 11:51 am

Looks great. I think I am the only greek that doesn’t use eggs in the bechamel for pastitso

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Kanella February 25, 2009 at 11:51 am

Looks great. I think I am the only greek that doesn’t use eggs in the bechamel for pastitso

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Laurie Constantino February 25, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Yum yum yum – your pastistio looks might fine! I do really like your yiayia’s bread crumb idea. Next time, I make pastitsio, I’m using that trick – I like the contrast in textures I know it will provide. Great entry!

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Laurie Constantino February 25, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Yum yum yum – your pastistio looks might fine! I do really like your yiayia’s bread crumb idea. Next time, I make pastitsio, I’m using that trick – I like the contrast in textures I know it will provide. Great entry!

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Ivy February 25, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Your pastitsio sounds delicious Elly. I made a quite different version last week but didn’t find the time to post it yet.

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Ivy February 25, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Your pastitsio sounds delicious Elly. I made a quite different version last week but didn’t find the time to post it yet.

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Peter G February 25, 2009 at 3:55 pm

My absolute favourite…I too like the idea of adding breadcrumbs on the top. I will def try it next time I make it.

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Peter G February 25, 2009 at 3:55 pm

My absolute favourite…I too like the idea of adding breadcrumbs on the top. I will def try it next time I make it.

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maria February 25, 2009 at 5:32 pm

I love, love, love pastitsio. I can probably eat it on a weekly basis and was quite annoyed when I saw a re-run of Anthony Bourdain in Greece and he said he hated those Greek casserole dishes (mostly moussaka, but I can’t imagine he is too keen on pastitsio either). Too bad … I can eat the entire pan! Your version sounds amazing.

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maria February 25, 2009 at 5:32 pm

I love, love, love pastitsio. I can probably eat it on a weekly basis and was quite annoyed when I saw a re-run of Anthony Bourdain in Greece and he said he hated those Greek casserole dishes (mostly moussaka, but I can’t imagine he is too keen on pastitsio either). Too bad … I can eat the entire pan! Your version sounds amazing.

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JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen February 25, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Yummy Elly! You are so right – this is the very definition of comfort food. YUM! Did I say YUM, yet? YUM.

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JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen February 25, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Yummy Elly! You are so right – this is the very definition of comfort food. YUM! Did I say YUM, yet? YUM.

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Peter February 25, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Elly, your pastistsio looks delicious, it oozes awesome! If it’s giagia’a recipe, then it’s THE recipe…who are we to question that?

Thanks for the entry and enjoy the week’s worth of of Pastitsio.

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Tony February 26, 2009 at 3:42 am

I definitely froze a few batches for my lazy days hehe. I loved the photo of your grandmother’s recipe in Greek :) and I think the breadcrumbs on top is a great idea. I’m going to keep that in mind for when my frozen supply of pastitsio dwindles.
Thanks for participating!

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Singing Horse February 26, 2009 at 2:41 pm

This is interesting! Greek lasagna. I will have to try this soon. I have been really busy in the past month. I’m really glad to be back to your blog seeing such a nice entree. I wish I could eat it through my screen!

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Kevin February 28, 2009 at 2:01 pm

That Pastitsio looks so good. It is on my list f things to try making.

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peabody March 2, 2009 at 4:23 am

I’ve never had this but gosh it sounds and looks fantastic.

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peabody March 2, 2009 at 4:23 am

I’ve never had this but gosh it sounds and looks fantastic.

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Alesea July 6, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I LOVE LOVE LOVE pastitsio. It’s sooo delicious it has to be a sin. My bf had never had it before I made it for him and now he ask for it every week.

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Alesea July 6, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I LOVE LOVE LOVE pastitsio. It’s sooo delicious it has to be a sin. My bf had never had it before I made it for him and now he ask for it every week.

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Joanna March 2, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Not to healthy, but in my family we make the pastitsio with my Thea Metaxia’s recipe . . . and boil the pasta in milk with butter melted in it!! Heavenly and lead-like.

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living_insanity March 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm

I finally made your recipe for pastitsio tonight! It was fabulous. I am always disappointed when I order it at a Greek restaurant and it’s not hot and bubbly all the way through because it’s just been reheated. I will never order this when I go out again :) homemade is always better

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elly March 6, 2011 at 9:08 am

So glad you liked it!

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lorraine s. April 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm

i think I’ll do this for Easter as well…it feeds a ton and everyone loves it…now I just need a good avgolemono recipe…

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Cheese with Noodles November 13, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I have wanted to make pastitsio for at least 10 years and with this beautiful recipe, I do believe I will give it a try! Just wish I had the ingredients on hand to make it tonight. Mmmmm.

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