Pastitsio (not pistachio!) is a popular main dish in Greece that combines pasta, ground beef and bechamel sauce. 






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You can find Mizithra in speciality Greek delis.


  • 500 g ziti pasta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus more for greasing
  • 2 onions, chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 500 g ground beef
  • 1 ½ cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups (500 ml) tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 cup Mizithra, crumbled
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups béchamel sauce


Béchamel sauce

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 4 cups (1L) milk
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 eggs

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Cook pasta in lightly salted water until al dente. Drain, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss. Set aside to cool.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add ground beef and brown. Pour in tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pepper and combine. Cover and simmer until liquid has been reduced (about 40 minutes).
  3. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  4. Meanwhile, to make béchamel, melt butter in a pan on low. Whisk in flour and cook on low a few minutes, being careful not to brown. Slowly add in milk, whisking, making sure to whisk out lumps. Cook, stirring, until the sauce starts to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in pepper and nutmeg. Set aside.
  5. When meat is ready, add 1 cup crumbled Mizithra, 2 eggs, ½ cup (125ml) béchamel sauce and stir to combine. In a greased baking pan, spread half of the ziti on the bottom of the pan to cover evenly, then add a layer of béchamel. Spread the meat mixture evenly on top of the ziti. Top with the remaining ziti and make sure to cover evenly. Pour béchamel sauce over top. Top with Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bubbling. Let cool 10-15 minutes before cutting.