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Nikki's Perfect Pastitsio Recipe
Nikki's Perfect Pastitsio Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Nikki's Perfect Pastitsio Recipe

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4.5 17
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My mother used to work so hard in the kitchen to make this classic Greek dish, and the results were always well worth her effort. My recipe for pastitsio is easier, a bit lighter and every bit as great as Mom's.—Nikki Tsangaris, Westfield, Indiana
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. Bake: 50 min.
MAKES:12 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. Bake: 50 min.
MAKES: 12 servings


  • 2-1/2 cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups 2% milk
  • 2 large eggs

Nutritional Facts

1 piece equals 332 calories, 18 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 98 mg cholesterol, 718 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 20 g protein.


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Toss with butter; add grated Parmesan cheese. Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking beef into crumbles; drain. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes longer. Stir in tomato sauce, salt and cinnamon; heat through. Spoon over pasta. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk a small amount of hot mixture into eggs; return all to pan, whisking constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes. Pour over beef mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake, covered, 20 minutes. Bake, uncovered, 30-40 minutes longer or until golden brown. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Nikki's Perfect Pastitsio in Taste of Home December 2013

Nutritional Facts

1 piece equals 332 calories, 18 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 98 mg cholesterol, 718 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 20 g protein.

Full-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.

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Reviewed Jul. 28, 2015

"I would recommend to first mix the flour and milk while it's cold and then add it on the stove top. Add butter then one knorr for taste. Once it thickens then take off of fire, add cheese, eggs, nutmeg, pepper to taste while stirring."

Reviewed Jul. 6, 2015

"This recipe is a new favorite * I scaled it down to serve just 2. Perfect size for both of us. The cinnamon remains an unidentifiable ingredient * In a very good way. It really adds a nice taste level to the Tomato/Meat mixture * You know there's something different in the mix. But you will never guess its Cinnamon * literally makes the sauce "Speak " My newest winner *

Janie TOH Volunteer FE"

Reviewed Jun. 29, 2015

"This was amazing. You must plan ahead! We loved the warmth the cinnamon brought. I changed the noodles for what I had on hand, and some of the cheese. *I ran out of parm* but I can't imagine it tasting any better!"

Reviewed May. 28, 2015


Reviewed May. 23, 2015 Edited May. 27, 2015

"Good dish, but takes a while to make. Also the bechamel sauce was a little too much."

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