This authentic, homemade Greek Baked Ziti recipe has a few flavorful twists!
Meaty, creamy, and beautifully scented with popular Greek seasoning, this is a perfect cold weather dinner-time treat for the whole family.
With hearty layers of pasta, the white sauce cooks on the stove and then everything bakes in the oven, creating a melting pot of Mediterranean flavors.
This recipe was created by Chef Natasha Bartlett just for CookingChew.com, and we are so happy to bring you this tried-and-true, made-from-scratch Pastitsio recipe!
The fall flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice aren’t just for sweets! This comfort food is a delicious, aromatic masterpiece with a dreamy cream sauce that you make yourself.
Be prepared to spend some time in the kitchen, and read through the recipe carefully, as you are putting everything together from as many fresh ingredients as possible.
From the bechamel to beef mixture to the marinara, this Greek lasagna recipe will show you how to make this Pastitsio from scratch!
This authentic and traditional Greek pasta bake recipe is also best friends with our Lemon Appetizers. Take a look and see what starters you can pair up for your next dinner party.
Tips for creating the perfect Pastitsio:
- Give yourself plenty of time to create this authentic meal and read through the recipe before starting. Find a grownup helper for prep work and pour each of you a glass of wine.
- If you’re feeling fancy, use 1/2 lb ground beef and 1/2 lb ground lamb for an even more unctuous bite.
- No fresh oregano? Use dried and cut the amount in half that’s shown in the recipe.
- If you don’t have ziti noodles, penne works just fine.
- If you have whole tomatoes around, what a great way to add freshness to your sauce. In a medium pot, boil 6 cups of water with a generous pinch of salt in a stock pot. Carefully put 2 to 3 scored large tomatoes into the water and cook for around 1-2 minutes. Immediately dunk in an ice bath, drain mixture, and allow to sit for 30 seconds to a minute. Then peel and crush your tomatoes. They are now ready to use in the sauce.
- Don’t forget to take the bay leaves out of the tomato sauce before serving!
The bottom line
You probably won’t need another iota of flavor after this magic Mediterranean meal is put together and ready to eat, but you can also shred some parmesan cheese or mozzarella for everyone to serve themselves at the dinner table.
Use any leftover marinara to serve alongside the plated servings.
This huge pan of Greek Baked Ziti has a freeze option, too, because it is a lot of food.
Just wrap it tightly or add to an airtight container for three months.
Looking for more Greek dishes? We’ve also collected these 35 Greek Recipes from around the web for you to review and enjoy!
For meat and sauce:
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 c white wine
- 2 c canned tomatoes, or 3 whole tomatoes
- 3 T olive oil
- 2 T fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 t ground cinnamon
- 2 t dill
- 2 bay leaves
- 1-1/2 t nutmeg
- 1 t thyme
- 1 t fennel seed
- 1/2 t allspice
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 lb ziti pasta
- 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated and loosely scrambled
- 1-1/2 c butter
- 1/2 c flour
- 2-1/4 c milk
- 3/4 c Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 c feta cheese
- 1/4 c Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- Optional: Fresh lemon, diced red onion, shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese
- In a large skillet, heat oil at medium-high heat. Saute onion until slightly caramelized, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt, pepper and garlic and cook for 30 seconds to a minute until garlic is fragrant.
- Deglaze with white wine and reduce by half.
- Add ground beef and cook until all pink is gone.
- Once meat is cooked, in a large saucepan, add tomatoes, oregano, cinnamon, 1 t nutmeg, dill, thyme and fennel to the meat mixture. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick and dark.
- While your sauce is bubbling, cook pasta with a tsp salt until just al dente, as to not overcook it when we put it in the oven later. Drain.
- Melt 1/2 cup butter, scramble the egg whites, then carefully and gently stir both into the drained pasta noodles, making sure not to break the cooked pasta. Set aside.
- To make the béchamel, melt butter that remains in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once completely melted, add flour and whisk constantly until flour smells nutty and the mixture looks toasted.
- Add your milk, 1/2 t of nutmeg and allspice, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes to ensure all flour is cooked.
- One tablespoon at a time, pour hot milk mixture over the egg yolks, whisking vigorously. DO NOT stop whisking and DO NOT add it all at once. Otherwise, you will end up with scrambled eggs. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- To assemble: Grease a 9x13 casserole dish with vegetable cooking spray. In thin layers, spread out the noodles, stir in tomato sauce and olives, béchamel and feta cheese into all the corners of the pan. Repeat until pan is full. Add a final topping of feta and olives and top with panko or other dry breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until bread crumbs are golden brown.
- Rest for 5 to 10 minutes uncovered.
- For each plate, squeeze over a wedge of fresh lemon juice or sprinkle a touch of lemon zest.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 764Total Fat: 58gSaturated Fat: 31gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 259mgSodium: 873mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 28g