BEST Greek Pastitsio Recipe
This really is the best Greek pastitsio recipe I have ever made! It’s rich! It’s aromatic! It’s comforting, and it’s delicious! Pastitsio is a baked pasta dish in which thick tubular pasta, is mixed with an aromatic ground meat sauce and topped with bechamel. It’s one of the best known Greek recipes! Want to try another variation on pastitsio? Watch me make a unique regional pastitsio on YouTube!
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin Greek olive oil
- 3 large onions finely chopped
- 1 ½ pounds 675 gr. ground beef
- 1 large garlic clove minced
- 3 cups plum tomato concasse
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 scant tsp. ground nutmeg
- 6 whole allspice berries
- 10-15 black peppercorns crushed
- 1 pound 450 gr thick tube spaghetti
- 120 gr. 4 ounces Kefalotyri cheese grated
For the Greek Béchamel:
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 8 scant tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 7 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 large whole eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ⅔ cup Greek fresh anthotyro ricotta, or fresh myzithra, drained
- ⅔ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup coarsely grated kasseri cheese
- Grating of fresh nutmeg
- Salt and white pepper to taste
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin Greek olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent, 5 – 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic. Next, add meat and continue stirring until meat begins to brown, about 10 - 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, white wine, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, peppercorns, and salt. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 35 – 40 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed and meat is cooked. Remove pan from heat, let meat cool slightly. Remove whole spices.
While meat is simmering, boil the pasta to al dente. Remove, drain and shock in cold water. Drain. Toss in a large mixing bowl with a little extra-virgin Greek olive oil and half the grated cheese.
Preheat oven to 180°C (360°F). Lightly oil a large baking pan.
Make béchamel: In a large saucepan, melt the butter until it starts to bubble but before it browns. Add the flour and whisk vigorously for a few minutes, until the flour turns a pale golden color. Slowly add the hot milk, whisking all the while. Next, add the cream. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Whisk continuously until thick,about 10 - 15 minutes over medium heat. Be careful not to scorch the bottom of the pot. Vigorously whisk in lightly beaten eggs and yolks. Next, stir in Greek anthotyro, feta, and half the remaining grated cheese.
Toss the pasta with a little of the béchamel. Spread half of it on the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Pour in meat sauce, spreading evenly over pasta. Sprinkle with 1 – 2 tablespoons grated cheese. Make a second layer of the pasta. Pour béchamel over pasta, making sure it’s evenly spread over the top of pan. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, until béchamel thickens and swells and a golden brown crust forms on top.