Really you could use any tubular pasta shape for this recipe. If you can find ziti or mezzani they'll give you that beautiful cross-section of rings, but gluten-free options are usually a bit limited in terms of shapes so penne is just as good.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (97 votes)


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500 g lamb mince
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 x 400 g tins crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 300 g gluten-free penne pasta


  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g gluten-free plain flour
  • 800 ml milk
  • 100 g kefalograviera, grated, plus extra to serve
  • 100 g Parmigiana Reggiano, grated
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon

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. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook the onion and garlic for 5-6 minutes or until soft. Add the mince, oregano and rosemary and cook, breaking up the mince with a wooden spoon until browned. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, cinnamon stick and nutmeg. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain, return to the pan and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and set aside.

3. For the béchamel, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and stir until a smooth paste forms. Whisking continuously, slowly pour in the milk until smooth and well combined. Add both the cheeses and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and whisk in the beaten egg and cinnamon. Season to taste.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

4. To assemble the pastitsio, lightly grease a rectangular baking dish. Add the lamb mixture to the pasta and stir to combine. Transfer to the greased dish and pour the béchamel sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the extra kefalograviera cheese. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden.


Catch Helen Tzouganatos whipping up lush gluten-free meals alongside guests in the brand new series of Loving Gluten Free on SBS and SBS On Demand.