Pastitsio Greek pasta bake
Here is the recipe for Pastitsio Greek pasta bake. This is probable one of the most popular Greek dishes among Greeks and non-Greeks alike. It is a super decadent comfort food. Although it does take a while to prepare this dish due to the 3 different layers, make sure you have enough time set aside to really get a tasty and well executed result that your guests will be talking about for a long time afterwards.
Ingredients for the Pastitsio Greek pasta bake
1kg ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped and 1 clove of garlic, minced
2 beef stock cubes, diluted in 1 cup of hot water
1 can chopped tomatoes (400 g)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup red wine
1 cinnamon quill
3 bay leaves and cloves, whole
3 teaspoons olive oil, for the onion and 3 teaspoons olive oil, for the ground meat
½ bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1.5 litres milk, warm
150g plain flour
4 egg yolks
100g parmesan cheese, grated
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
500g tubular pasta
2 egg whites
200g feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons olive oil
Method for Pastitsio Greek pasta bake:
1. Place a pan over high heat. Then, add 3 teaspoons of olive oil and the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, before adding the garlic.
2. Add the tomato paste and sauté for 2 minutes to give it a more intense flavor.
3. Next, add the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it browns and all the juices have absorbed. At this point you may need to add a little more olive oil.
4. Next, the wine and let it evaporate.
5. Add the canned tomatoes, cinnamon, sugar, stock and dried herbs.
6. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 45-60 minutes, until the sauce reduces.
7. When ready, remove from heat, discard the dried herbs, add the parsley and set aside until needed.
- Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. As soon as it melts add the flour and whisk to cook off the flour for a few minutes.
- Add the warm milk, in small batches, whisking continuously so that no lumps form.
- The mixture will be quite thick at first. You need to be persistent and patient. As you add more and more of the milk, you will see how the béchamel sauce will start to become nice and creamy.
- When the béchamel sauce starts to thicken, you have to be very careful not to let it burn on the bottom. Whisk continuously to avoid this.
- When ready, remove from heat and add salt, pepper, nutmeg and all of the grated cheese, apart from 1 tablespoon which will be added at the end of the recipe.
- Lastly, set aside until needed.
- Add the pasta to a saucepan full of salted water. Boil 1-2 minutes less than the instructions on the packet. It needs to be al dente because it will cook further in the oven.
- When ready, drain and toss to coat with olive oil and spread evenly in the baking pan.
- Whisk the 2 egg whites and combine with the crumbled feta cheese before coating the pasta with the mix.
- Lastly, season to taste and set aside until needed.
To assemble the Pastitsio Greek pasta bake
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Add a ladle of the béchamel sauce to the mince and stir well. The béchamel sauce will make the ground meat mixture hold together when serving.
- Spread the mince mixture over the pasta in the baking pan.
- Pour the béchamel sauce over the mince.
- Sprinkle the reserved grated cheese over the top.
- Finally, bake for 40 minutes or until the béchamel turns golden brown.
Want more Greek food recipe inspiration?
View the video on food of Chania.