Pastitsio - Make weekends extra special with this authentic Greek lasagna made with amazing layers of cinnamon-infused and herby meaty sauce, bechamel sauce, and pastitsio pasta. Creamy, cheesy, and meaty - fully loaded meal with the perfect blend of glorious flavors. A festive family-friendly dinner you can make at home without breaking the bank. Yes!
½lb or morekasseri cheese, asiago, or an Italian blend grated, about 4 cups
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute garlic, onion, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, parsley, and ground beef. Cook until the beef changes to brownish color.
Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, cinnamon stick, and beef bouillon. Mix until fully incorporated.
Then add the beef stock and let it simmer.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the meat sauce thickens. Stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The meat sauce should be thick and not too saucy.
Remove from heat and let it cool, uncovered. Set it aside.
Heat the big saucepan over medium heat. Make the roux by melting the butter and adding the flour. Mix until fully combined and becomes thick.
Gradually pour the milk and continue whisking until everything dissolves and is fully incorporated.
Add the egg yolks and continue to mix until the sauce thickens.
Remove from heat then add the grated Kefalotyri or Parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Set it aside.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain.
Grate the kasseri cheese.
In a large pot, toss the pasta in egg white and grated kasseri cheese, or asiago, or an Italian blend.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Add about 1/4 cup of bechamel sauce to the meat sauce and mix thoroughly until well blended. This is optional.
Grease the baking dish with butter or oil.
Layer the pastitsio pasta into the greased baking dish.
Then add the meat sauce layer and top with grated kasseri cheese.
For the final layer, pour the bechamel sauce and add more cheese on top.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
Let it sit for about 20-30 minutes before serving.
Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
You can use a mix of ground beef and ground pork for this pastitsio recipe.
Don't skip on the eggs on making the Greek Bechamel sauce. The eggs make the cheese sauce stable enough to hold its shape after slicing. Same with the egg whites and cheese tossed in the pasta layer.
Presentation-wise, you can use any tubular pasta. As much as possible assemble them in one direction.
Let the pastitsio cool a little bit before slicing. Slicing it straight from the oven might cause the layers to collapse.
You can make it ahead and store it in the fridge for about 4 days and 3 months in the freezer.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.