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Ground Beef Pastitsio Pasta

A slice of pastitsio with all its pasta, meat, and béchamel layers.
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This Ground Beef Pastitsio Pasta is one of those recipes that never fails to impress. Made with layers of noodles, meat, and bechamel sauce, this Greek pasta dish is sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters!

Ingredients

For the ground beef:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the pasta:

  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated kefalotyri or pecorino cheese
  • 2 egg whites

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated kefalotyri or pecorino cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 egg yolks

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup grated kefalotyri or pecorino cheese

Instructions

Cook the Ground Beef

  • Add olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic.
  • Add the ground beef and cook for 5-10 minutes, breaking it up as you cook, until the meat is well browned.
  • Add the tomato sauce, water and spices and stir everything together.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for about 45 minutes or until the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat and set aside while preparing the pasta.

Cook the Pasta

  • In a large pan, cook the pasta as per package instructions until al dente. Drain and let cool.
  • Return pasta to the pan and add the grated cheese and egg whites, mixing until combined. Set aside while making the béchamel sauce.

Make the bechamel sauce

  • In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Add the flour and whisk for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg and whisk everything together. Cook for another 5 minutes and whisk as necessary.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the grated cheese.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.
  • Take 1-2 tbsp of the béchamel and add it to the egg yolks whisking constantly.
  • Gradually add the egg mixture into the béchamel sauce and keep stirring constantly.

Assemble and Bake

  • Preheat oven to 350F and grease a deep 9×13-inch pan (about 3 inches deep).
  • Transfer half of the pasta mixture into the prepared pan, making sure it’s evenly distributed in the pan.
  • Top the pasta with the minced meat and smooth out the surface.
  • Add the other half of the pasta mixture on top of the minced meat.
  • Pour the béchamel sauce over the pasta mixture and smooth it out.
  • Top with remaining grated cheese and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and set. Let the pastitsio rest for at least 20 minutes before cutting into slices and serving.

Notes

Pastitsio can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen in individual slices for up to 1 month.

Keywords: greek lasagna, ground beef pasta, bechamel pasta