Family Recipe: Greek Pastichio

Greek Pastichio |
Most of you probably don’t know, I’m 50% Greek. While my little brother likes to tell people that he is 100% and I am 0% (none of this makes sense), I actually do have some Greek blood in me. While most American eaters may know the classic gyro, souvlaki, or spanakopita there are a few Greek food gems that I absolutely love to share. So today, I give you Pastichio (pronounced like, and also sometimes spelled like, Pastitsio), which I like to describe as a Greek lasagna.

This recipe was kindly given to me by my cousin Kyra (Thanks Kyra I owe you a pan of pastichio!) and has been made a few times over by me and my brother Rob. Rob and I have tried a few different variations of this recipe and we’ve changed one or two small details but have kept the recipe mostly intact.

This is a meal you’ll want two stomachs for. It’s a splurge worthy recipe and it’s satisfying to your deepest stomach heart (yes, that is a made up phrase but roll with me because your stomach heart will love you for eating this). My brother recently came to visit so we had to give it another go, and this time around was my favorite. Just try to only eat one piece…I dare you!

The Pastichio is a three step process. Let’s start with the cream sauce.

Greek Pastichio |

Start by melting butter into a saucepan, then add flour and stir together until the mixture is golden. Gradually stir in hot milk (I just microwave this a little right beforehand). And I mean GRADUALLY people. Let the mixture cook while stirring it constantly until the sauce is smooth and thick. Stir in sauce and set aside to let it cool. Lightly beat your eggs on the side and pour those into your cream mixture once it is partly cool. Let it rest but give it a stir every now and then just to make sure it’s not getting weird. And by weird I mean more solid than liquid or more gloopy than smooth. Avoid the gloop.

Greek Pastichio |

Next up, the meat! Saute your onions in a pan until just slightly translucent. Be careful not to overcook because these will stay in your pan with the meat and we don’t want any burnt onions. Then add in your meat and cook until browned. Add in your oregano, dash of cinnamon and salt and pepper to taste. Then add your water and tomato paste. Feel free to add a little more tomato paste if you want a more saucy meat. But start out with the 2 tablespoons and mix in before adding. A little paste goes a long way here.

Greek Pastichio |

Lastly, our pasta! I usually use ziti noodles. Anything like that will do. Cook your pasta according to the package then drain and rinse to cool down the noodles. Once they are cooled a little, add in your eggs and mix well. Then we layer! Usually I’ll do two layers of pasta but I didn’t have enough it seemed this time so I just did one on the bottom. I poured the pasta into a greased pan, then the meat, then a little romano cheese. Then, before you add the rest, bake the pasta and meat mixture in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven then top with (optionally more pasta and) cream sauce and more Romano cheese.

Greek Pastichio |

Pop your pan back in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. If it takes longer, it takes longer–just keep an eye on it and get it to your preferred browning on top.

Greek Pastichio |

Now eat and enjoy! This is also great for leftovers and lasts a good amount of time in the fridge so you can have it for days!!

Greek Pastichio |
Greek Pastichio |

Greek Pastichio

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 8

Greek Pastichio

This is my cousin Kyra's recipe and has been used in my family now for years. Feel free to try it with gluten free or whole wheat noodles and less cheese and sauce if you are looking to cut a few calories. Enjoy!


    For the Cream Sauce:
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter
  • 3/4 Cup flour
  • 1 quart of hot milk
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • For the Meat:
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds ground meat (I used 1 lb lamb and 1 lb beef)
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste
  • For the Pasta:
  • 1 pound ziti
  • Grated Romano cheese
  • 3 eggs beaten


    For the Cream Sauce:
  1. Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and cook, stirring until mixture is golden. Gradually stir in hot milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is smooth and thickened. Stir in salt and set aside to cool. When partly cool, stir in eggs, lightly beaten.
  2. For the Meat:
  3. Saute onons in butter until golden. Add meat and cook, stirring until meat is browned.Add cinnamon, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Add water and tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. For the Pasta:
  5. Cook macaroni according to directions on package. Drain and rinse. When lukewarm add eggs and mix well.Put the macaroni into a greased 13 X 9 pan; add meat, and sprinkle with cheese.Bake for 10 minutes in a 350 oven. Top with cream sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and bake for 30 minutes longer or until top is browned.

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