Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pastitsio-My Big Fat Greek Casserole

This is a good winter dish that can be made ahead of time. It's warm winter spices make it perfect for a cold snowy day. The flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg enrich the meat sauce and nutmeg perks up the white sauce.  It's a lot like lasagna, but with an unexpected new taste.
Layers of pasta, meat sauce, white sauce and cheese.
Gather ingredients.
 Saute onions and garlic in butter until tender.
 Brown the beef and add remaining ingredients.
 Let simmer uncovered.
 Start white sauce with 3T butter.
 Stir in 3T flour and cook 1 minute. Add salt and pepper.
 Whisk in 2C milk.
 Bring to a boil and whisk until thickened.
 Remove from heat, then add 1/4C cheese and 2 eggs.
Whisk until smooth and stir in a pinch of nutmeg.
 Pasta pot, meat sauce pot and white sauce pot, ready to assemble the casserole.
 Drain cooked ziti, return to the pot and stir in 2T butter and 1/2C cheese.
 Spoon half the pasta into a greased casserole. Spoon the meat sauce on top.
 Top with remaining pasta.
 Pour the white sauce over all. Tap the casserole to help the sauce settle. Sprinkle with 1/4C cheese.
 Bake at 320 for 45 minutes until golden.
 Let sit for 10 minutes.
 Cut into squares.
 Serves 6.
Love the leftovers!

Serve with a big fat Greek salad and crusty bread.


Meat Sauce
1 to 1-12 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T butter
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1 t oregano
6-oz can tomato paste
8-oz tomato sauce
1/2 C red wine
Saute the onion and garlic in 2 T butter in a large sauce pot. Add meat and brown. Drain excess fat and add remaining ingredients. Simmer about 30 minutes while you prepare the white sauce and cook the pasta.

Pasta Layer
1/2 lb ziti pasta
2 T butter
1/2 C Romano cheese, grated (1 C total used)
Cook the ziti, drain and return to the pot. Add the butter and Romano and toss. Set aside.

White Sauce
3 T butter
3 T flour
1/2 t salt
dash pepper
2 C whole milk
1/4 C Romano cheese, grated
dash nutmeg
2 eggs, slightly beaten with a fork
Melt butter in sauce pot until bubbly, Add the flour and whisk for about 1 minute until cooked. Add the salt. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. Whisk in the Romano and eggs, until smooth. Add dash of nutmeg.

Assemble and Bake
Grease a 9X13 casserole. Put in half the pasta. Spoon on the meat sauce. Top with remaining pasta.
Pour the white sauce over the top. Shake or tap the casserole dish to help the white sauce settle in.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 C Romano cheese on top.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. 



  1. Hello, I recognized the pictures. I am a Greek American and make this dish. I enjoy your blogs and than you for sharing all your home arts. As I have commented on other blogs, I don't have one and appreciate enjoying and being allowed to comment on all the blog ladies wonderful sites. Than you again! Emelia. (I am a follower!)

  2. im american in egypt and almost exactly the same made by egyptians. macaroni with bachemel sauce.