the lasagna recipes

The Pastitio, or the Greek Lasagna

a dish of pastitsio

The pastitsio is a little bit different from the typical italian lasagna; it does not use actual lasagna pasta. 

The Pastitsio is served as a side dish at greek special events, such as weddings, christian holidays such as orthodox Easter, etc... Instead of using the usual flat lasagna noodle, this recipe uses layers of long tubular pasta (penne lisce, ziti etc...). It can be grated using haloumi cheese, which can be replaced by mozzarella, when not available. Some pastitsios are made without grating cheese on the top layer, but incorporating it to the sauce itself. There is also an egyptian variant that is very  similar, as there is a significant greek population in Egypt, more specifically in Alexandria.


for the pastitsio itself:

    * 2 lb. tubular pasta (long macaroni, ziti, penne lisce, etc.)
    * 1 lb. of ground meat
    * 2 chopped medium onions
    * 3 ripe tomatoes finely chopped
    * 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
    * 1 bay leaf
    * a bit of basil
    * 1/2 lb. of grated Parmesan
    * some salt and some pepper

greek-style béchamel, or white sauce:

    * 1 cup of flour
    * 1 cup peanut oil
    * 4 cups milk
    * 3 beaten eggs
    * 1/2 lb. grated Parmesan
    * some salt and some pepper
    * a bit of grated nutmeg


1. In a saucepan pour a cup olive oil and cook the onion bits until slightly browned.
Mix in the ground meat, mixing for a few minutes and breaking all the meat lumps,
then mix in the tomatoes, some  salt and pepper, the bay leaves, the basil and a bit of water.
Cook the pasta to very 'al dente' stage, following package instructions but shy of
 a few minutes of time, as they will finish cooking in sauce, in the oven when we finish.

2. Prepare the white sauce: In a saucepan heat up 1 cup peanut oil and pour in the flour stirring constantly
in the same direction with a spatula to avoid creating any lumps. Heat up the milk and gradually add it to 
the sauce while stirring with a whisk as you pour it in. Remove the saucepan from the stove and mix in the
 beaten eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg and grated cheese while, once again, stirring constantly.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. 
Cook over medium fire setting for around 30 minutes.  Then in a frying pan, heat up the second cup
 of olive oil and it pour it on your pasta. In a lasagna pan place half the pasta, sprinkle them with some
grated cheese and cover them with the meat mixture. On this coat dispose the pasta that is left and
sprinkle some grated cheese once again. Finally pour all your white sauce in the pan. Sprinkle some grated
cheese on the top.

Bake in oven at 375º for 30 minutes. Allow 30 minutes to cool down before serving.

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