No more lasagna, only Pastitsio

by - Sunday, September 07, 2014

You know how families have legacies that pass down from generation to generation? Well, in our family a very important legacy is cooking, but not just for the sake of filling your belly. It's a form of art, performed with care and much love. The dining table becomes a canvas and we feel a natural inclination to fill it, not just with colours but also with smells, tastes and mouth watering memories. I got to be the one out of the four women of my generation to happily pick up on that legacy, so whenever I'm given the chance (and the day off!) I'm always trying to make something special. It's one of those special Greek dishes I'm sharing here with you. Pastitsio.

I've spent several minutes thinking if I should give you the fancy version of this meal (professional photos and the like), but then if I was to do that I would be denying the core factor why I love cooking so much. Yes, it is great to see everything presented to their perfection, but in the end the important part is the taste, not the looks. So I'll stick to what I like calling the "family" version.

Just to let you know before I start, although it's a fairly easy dish to make, it's one of those that require the use of many pots and pans, which is the reason why it's not something we cook as much as other meals (the reason is obvious, avoid washing a ton of dishes!).


  • 250gr bucatini pasta (you can use penne or rigatoni as a substitute if you can't find them)
  • A tablespoon of margarine
  • A tablespoon of olive oil
  • 400gr minced meat (I prefer pork but beef works as well)
  • A tin of chopped tomatoes
  • One medium sized onion
  • Salt and pepper
  • A tablespoon of oregano
  • A bay leaf

For the bechamel sauce:

  • 50gr margarine or butter
  • 50-70gr all purpose flour
  • An egg yolk
  • Milk (about half a litre)
  • Salt


Boil the pasta according to the instructions of the pack but be careful not to overcook them. While still hot, coat them with the margarine, it will prevent them from sticking together. Put them aside and allow to cool while you make your mince. Finely chop the onion and after you've heated up the olive oil in a tall pan on high temperature, sweat the onion. Add the mince and cook for 5 mins until the meat gets nice and dark, before you add your tin of tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Lower your heat to medium and allow it to slowly cook for about 20 minutes. Fill your oven dish with half the pasta (try to spread them evenly), layer all the mince and then add on top of it the rest of the pasta. Now for the bechamel. Melt your margarine in a medium sized pan on medium to high heat, add the flour and mix well. Cook this for 2-3 mins and slowly add the milk while stirring continuously. At the beginning it will keep getting thick quite fast, but keep stirring and gradually adding more milk until your mixture has a smooth, creamy consistency. Put the pan aside and add some salt while allowing it to cool. Preheat your oven at 200C (or 180C if fan assisted). After a few minutes add the egg yolk while stirring vigorously and then pour the sauce over the pasta. Bake for about 50 minutes until the top is brown and let it rest for about 10 mins before you cut and serve.

Let me know in the comment section below your thoughts about the dish, especially if you get to cook it. Also if you have any questions, feel free to ask! Enjoy!

Until next time, 


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