Move over, lasagna! This pastitsio is a Greek baked pasta dish that will wow your family and friends!

A serving of pastitsio on a decorative plate, garnished with parsley leaves, with fork alongside.

I love trying new recipes, and pastitsio has been on my recipe bucket list for awhile now. Ever since I had some at a Greek restaurant in Chicago, I’ve been dying to give it a try. I love the layers, the CARBS, the cheese…who wouldn’t love that?

When Kathy asked me to help her kick off the launch of her new book by making one of the recipes out of the “Sunday Dinner” section of her book, my eyes immediately jetted to the Pastitsio. Which I cannot spell for the life of me, by the way. I have to triple check it every time. I’m getting better though!

Front view closeup of plated pastitsio garnished with parsley leaves.

I can’t spell it but I can EAT it. And oh my, oh my, is Kathy’s recipe delicious. I’m so grateful that I have the chance to share this with you guys.

Her cookbook is full of recipes that you can make in an 8×8-inch square pan. I usually double the recipe and make it in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Then we get to enjoy it two nights in a row – bonus!

Cover of The 8x8 Cookbook by Kathy Strahs

Her book is now available! 

Serving of pastitsio on decorative plate.

If you don’t know what pastitsio is, no worries! It’s a Greek baked pasta – you can find special pastitsio pasta but I just use mini ziti. The pasta is layered with a mixture of ground beef or lamb, tomatoes and wine. On top goes a creamy béchamel (white sauce) which is my absolute favorite part! Kathy uses lots of Parmesan in her béchamel recipe and it is irresistible!

Front view of plated pastitsio with casserole dish in background.

Oh my goodness, you’re going to love this casserole! It makes your house smell SO good! I wasn’t sure my hubby would like this (I don’t know why!) but he loves it – maybe even more than I do. 

Pastitsio takes a little time to make. It’s in the “Sunday dinner” category of Kathy’s book for a reason. There’s definitely a little extra TLC that goes into making this but if you plan ahead, read through the entire recipe and take your time, there’s nothing too technically difficult about this recipe.

Looking for more casseroles?



4.34 from 3 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Move over, lasagna! This pastitsio is a Greek baked pasta dish that will wow your family and friends!
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  • ½ pound pastitsio*, bucatini, or penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ pound ground beef (85% lean/15% fat) or ground lamb
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1 small)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup no-salt added canned diced tomatoes, undrained


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces) Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt
  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat the oven to 375°F. Grease an 8×8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
  • Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions. Drain in a colander.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, onion, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned. Add in the wine (and perhaps pour a glass for the cook!) and scrape up any of the bits stuck to the pan with your spoon. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley and another ¼ teaspoon salt, and let the mixture simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Transfer half of the pasta to the prepared baking dish, spreading it in an even layer all over the bottom of the dish. Next, spread the meat mixture in an even layer on top of the pasta. Finally, top the meat with an even layer of the remaining pasta.
  • To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to form a thick paste and cook, whisking occasionally, until the aroma of the mixture is more nutty than floury, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and whisk in the milk, then the beaten egg. Mix in half of the Parmesan, and the salt and pepper. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if needed. The sauce should be somewhat thick, like a light custard.
  • Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the pasta in the baking dish. Top the Parmesan with the béchamel, spreading the sauce to the edges. The béchamel should form its own layer on top of the casserole.
  • Bake until the béchamel is set and browned on top, 45 to 50 minutes. The casserole will be easier to cut—and see those lovely layers—if you wait for it to cool a bit.


  • Find pastitsio (aka pastichio) pasta, which is long and tubular, in international and specialty food stores or online, such as on Bucatini or penne are suitable substitutes.
  • This recipe can easily be doubled. Use a 9x13 inch pan.


Serving: 1of 6, Calories: 436kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 104mg, Sodium: 792mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did You Make This?Share a comment and rating below! I love hearing what you think!
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. I am blogging friends with Kathy and am thrilled to support her in her endeavors. I was given a beautiful pan from Le Creuset to use for this recipe. All opinions are always my own.
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4.34 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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  1. Kerin Perry says:

    Added more garlic to the bechamel sauce, ’cause I’m a garlic freak. It’s still baking yet but I’m guessing this will be a go to for me for comfort food

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I wholeheartedly support the use of more garlic! :) I hope you loved it!

  2. lisa alleva says:

    Looks incredible but every pastitsio recipe I’ve ever made calls for cinnamon. The cinnamon really puts it over the top!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      That sounds wonderful!

  3. Ashleigh @ Casually Unexpected says:

    I will try any pasta dish! This looks great :)

  4. Beverley says:

    I often make something similar but not the way you make your Bechemal sauce. Does the addition of the egg make the sauce creamier? xoxo

  5. Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks says:

    I’ve never heard of this pastitsio – and could never pronounce or spell it again – I totally want to devour it!

  6. Kathy Strahs says:

    Your pastitsio came out absolutely amazing! This is one of my husband’s favorite recipes in the book, I am so glad your family enjoyed it as well. Thank you so much for all of your support, Rachel!!

  7. Mike Benayoun says:

    Hey Rachel, I actually just made that last week and for the Cyprus feature we were doing for their Independence Day today! I made the Cypriot version called makaronia tou fournou. Same thing except for the addition of halloumi cheese and a little mint. We loved it too!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Loving the additions in yours!

  8. denise says:

    I’ve made it for a weeknight dinner. Haven’t made it for a while, but we enjoy it!