Back to Nikki's Perfect Pastitsio

Print Options


Card Sizes

Nikki's Perfect Pastitsio Recipe

Nikki's Perfect Pastitsio Recipe

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. YIELD: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


  • 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.

Nutritional Facts

1 piece: 332 calories, 18g fat (10g saturated fat), 98mg cholesterol, 718mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 1g fiber), 20g protein

Reviews for Nikki's Perfect Pastitsio

Sort By :
Reviewed May. 6, 2016

"rmbarr I agree that you need a touch of nutmeg in the Bechamel it really adds and gentles the flavor of the cinnamon. This is my husbands favorite dish"

Reviewed Jan. 24, 2016 Edited Apr. 8, 2016

"After making the noodles and the meat sauce, I thought to myself, "no way does this need 4 cups of Bechamel sauce". So, I halved that portion of the recipe, and I thought it was just right. It might not have been perfect to a Greek person, but we thought it was delicious. EDIT: The second time I made this recipe a few months later, I made it exactly as written. EXCELLENT!"

Reviewed Jan. 19, 2016

"Okay. I think it was the cinnamon that was throwing me off."

Reviewed Dec. 28, 2015

"My husband is Greek and we always make pastitcio and spanakopita for Christmas Eve dinner. I've been using the same pastitcio recipe for the last several years but decided to try this one on a whim. I believe this recipe will replace the one I used to use. The only thing I missed and would add in the future is some nutmeg to the sauce. Thanks for sharing!"

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."

Reviewed Jan. 18, 2015

"Was good but next time will leave the cinnamon out because my family didn't like it."

Reviewed Dec. 30, 2014

"Really enjoy this dish! It is a regular on our menu now. I just like to add a bit of slightly seasoned crushed/diced tomatoes to the top."

Reviewed Oct. 14, 2014

"I've been discovering Greek food for a while so it was fun to try this recipe! I liked the hint of cinnamon in a main dish recipe. The sauce is a wonderful addition! Everybody in my house liked it!"

Reviewed Sep. 11, 2014

"Loved the Bechamel sauce in this recipe. I have also made it meatless and loved it as well."

Reviewed Aug. 7, 2014

"Not great but not bad."

Reviewed Aug. 6, 2014

"Fantastic. A hit with the entire family."

Reviewed Feb. 28, 2014

"My husband and I love this recipe! I have made it twice now and it is a keeper for sure!"

Reviewed Feb. 27, 2014

"My family loved this! A great change up from the usual baked pasta dish we usually have!"

Reviewed Jan. 2, 2014

"Wonderful and very easy. Used ground lamb instead of ground sirloin."

Reviewed Dec. 23, 2013

"A hit for a large group & a welcome alternative to another ho-hum lasagna. I made the meat sauce ahead, then compiled the dish on the day I planned to serve it. Everyone loved it & will make again. Possible tweaks - add a bit of nutmeg to the béchamel. Also- a 9x13 pan will be very full, so you may want to place in a larger dish. Make a Greek salad & breadsticks & you have a crowd-pleasing meal."

Reviewed Dec. 22, 2013

"Absolutely delicious! Introduced it to my steak and potatoes guy and he loved it! Will definitely make again. A terrific, easier recipe for a wonderful, tasty Greek dish."

Reviewed Dec. 20, 2013

"We've never had pastitsio before so making this recipe was a real test. It passed with flying colors! Everyone loved it!"

Loading Image

Wine Pairings

Full-Bodied White Wine

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