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

Nikki's Perfect Pastitsio Recipe

Read Reviews
4.5 21 23
Publisher Photo
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
Test Kitchen Approved
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

Full-Bodied White Wine

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

Reviews for Nikki's Perfect Pastitsio

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Please Log In or Join to add a rating and review.
Click stars to rate
Any changes to your rating or review will appear where you originally posted your review
Loading Image
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."

Loading Image