Easy Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)

An easy take on a modern Greek classic brings a welcome surprise to your weeknight table.

Greek Lasagna featured image

Pasta is a Chinese invention. Legend has it that it was brought to Italy by Marco Polo where it became synonymous with Italian cuisine. It’s no surprise that it spread throughout Europe – delicious, inexpensive and versatile are universal virtues.

Here we have a wonderful Greek pasta dish, Pastitsio. To call it Greek Lasagne is not inaccurate, but it doesn’t really give the dish the credit it deserves. In general terms it has many of the same ingredients and presents much like a lasagne, but it really is a magnificent dish in its own right and we think it’s destined to become one of your favorites.

The modern version of Pastitsio was created at the beginning of the last century, and it’s a bit of a labor of love, but we’ve made it as quick and simple as possible without compromising the great flavors this dish is known for. The component sauces are made separately and combined before baking, just like a traditional Italian Lasagne. There’s a richness and some surprising flavors in here, though, that make this something quite special. Give it a go and let us know how it turned out.

Ingredients

  • 3 oz bucatini pasta or tortiglioni pasta
  • 1 oz feta cheese crumbled
  • Fresh thyme for garnish

White Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese grated

Meat Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 lb beef minced
  • 7 oz canned crushed tomato
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of cinnamon powder
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper
Greek Lasagna ingredients

How to Make Pastitsio

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. And prepare a baking dish.

Step 2: Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain and set aside.

Greek Lasagna steps

Step 3: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the minced beef and brown for 4-5 minutes until cooked. Reduce the heat and add the minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute then add the remaining meat sauce ingredients. Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes until thick.

Greek Lasagna steps

Step 4: For the white sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk, while stirring constantly. Simmer the white sauce for 5 minutes on low heat until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Greek Lasagna steps

Step 5: Remove the white sauce from the heat and add the parmesan cheese. Season with a pinch of salt.

Greek Lasagna steps

Step 6: Place the cooked pasta in the prepared baking dish and arrange them so they are going in the same direction. Top the pasta with the meat sauce then pour over the white sauce. Sprinkle with the feta cheese and bake for 30 minutes until the cheese turns golden.

Greek Lasagna steps

Step 7: Cool the pasta for 10 minutes before slicing it. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves and enjoy!

Greek Lasagna steps

Top Tips For a Perfect Pastitsio

  • Remember that feta is quite salty, so be careful with the amount of salt you add to the meat sauce and white sauce.
  • Make sure the pasta is well covered, as exposed noodles will tend to bake hard in the oven.
  • For best texture, use the highest fat Feta you can find. It’ll give you a wonderfully gooey top layer.
Greek Lasagna featured image

FAQs

Can I substitute the beef?

Yes. In fact you can turn the Greek Factor up to 11 by trying lamb instead and adding a little oregano to the sauce. Any ground meat would work, though, or even plant-based ground.

How can I make it creamier?

Make a double batch of the white sauce and spoon some onto the bottom of the dish, then toss the noodles in the remaining sauce before arranging them in the pan.

How do I “prepare the pan”?

Cooking spray works great, or a paper towel dipped in some olive oil spread around the bottom and sides.

Does it matter which pasta I use?

Not really. We like a ridged, hollow noodle because the shape holds up to baking and the ridges hang on to the sauce better than smooth pastas, but use what you have. Even macaroni works.

Greek Lasagna featured image

Serving Suggestions

We like to serve this with a Greek Salad on the side, dressed simply with olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. It complements the richness of the dish beautifully.

How to Store Pastitsio

Leftovers will keep in the fridge for three days or in the freezer for three months. Just make sure it’s cold before you freeze it. It’s a bonus that this dish microwaves beautifully.

You can even assemble it and freeze it unbaked. Cook it from frozen, though it will take a little while longer, depending on the size of tray you’ve made.

Greek Lasagna featured image
Greek Lasagna featured image

Easy Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 263 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 oz bucatini pasta or tortiglioni pasta
  • 1 oz feta cheese crumbled
  • Fresh thyme for garnish

White Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese grated

Meat Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 lb beef minced
  • 7 oz canned crushed tomato
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of cinnamon powder
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. And prepare a baking dish.
  • Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the minced beef and brown for 4-5 minutes until cooked. Reduce the heat and add the minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute then add the remaining meat sauce ingredients. Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes until thick.
  • For the white sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk, while stirring constantly. Simmer the white sauce for 5 minutes on low heat until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon… but not so thick you could cut it with a knife!
  • Remove the white sauce from the heat and add the parmesan cheese. I mean, who doesn't love a little Parmesan on everything? It's really the glitter of the food world. Season with a pinch of salt.
  • Place the cooked pasta in the prepared baking dish and arrange them so they are going in the same direction. Top the pasta with the meat sauce then pour over the white sauce. Sprinkle with the feta cheese and bake for 30 minutes until the cheese turns golden.
  • Cool the pasta for 10 minutes before slicing it. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 263kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 15gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 317mgPotassium: 422mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 382IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 174mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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