Pastitsio – Baked Greek Ziti

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I love pasta. This recipe is sort of a Greek lasagna. Ziti pasta is layered with seasoned ground beef, béchamel sauce, and Greek Kasseri cheese. It’s so delicious, and so easy! You could make this one on a week night!

ziti

This casserole is made using a semi-hard Greek cheese, kasseri. It is made from sheep’s milk and has a slightly rubbery texture and sharp, salty flavor. If you can find it (check out Whole Foods) the casserole tastes much better. If you can’t find it, Pecornio Romano is a fair substitute.

Here’s How to Do it:

Start with the ziti. Bring a large pot of water to boil, adding a couple teaspoons of salt. When the pasta is “al dente” (firm, but soft enough to bite easily), drain and cool. Don’t rinse it. Return it to the pan and set aside.

Next, cook the beef. Heat a heavy skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil. Crumble the beef and add to the pan. Stir gently and cook until starting to brown. Add the onions, garlic and spices and

ziti

continue to cook until the beef is browned and the onions are soft and translucent.

ziti

Finally, stir in the can of tomatoes, using the liquid to deglaze the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Now make the béchamel sauce sauce.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Stir in the flour and

cook until it becomes lightly browned and smells nutty.

Stir constantly and don’t leave it. You don’t want it to burn.

Using a whisk, stir in the milk, whisking while pouring. Cook on low, stirring constantly, until it becomes thick and creamy. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk the egg until froth with just a pinch of salt.

ziti

Pour the egg over the pasta and gently stir until blended.

ziti

Wipe a 2 quart casserole with a paper towel that has olive oil on it. Pour the ziti in the bottom. Pour the meat mixture over it and gently press down.

ziti

Spread the grated cheese over the top evenly,

then pour the béchamel over it all.

Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 350° for about 30 minutes. The top will be browned and the sides will be bubbly.

Remove from the heat and let “rest” for about 10 minutes before serving. Now dig in and enjoy!

ziti

© Copyright 2021 The Lazy Gastronome

5 from 1 vote
Pastitsio - Baked Greek Ziti

A simple casserole that can even be made on a weeknight.

Course: Main Course, main dish
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: beef, casserole, greek, kasseri, pasta, ziti
Servings: 4 people
Author: HelenFern
Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound dry ziti pasta
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 14oz can tomatoes
  • 6 oz Kasseri cheese, grated
  • béchamel sauce
béchamel sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • salt to taste
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Start with the ziti. Bring a large pot of water to boil, adding a couple teaspoons of salt. When the pasta is "al dente" (firm, but soft enough to bite easily), drain and cool. Don't rinse it. Return it to the pan and set aside.

  2. Next, cook the beef. Heat a heavy skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil. Crumble the beef and add to the pan. Stir gently and cook until starting to brown.

  3. Stir in the onions, garlic and spices and continue to cook until the beef is browned and the onions are soft and translucent. Stir in the can of tomatoes, using the liquid to deglaze the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  4. Now make the béchamel sauce.

  5. Whisk the egg until froth with just a pinch of salt. Pour the egg over the pasta and gently stir until blended.

  6. Wipe a 2 quart casserole with a paper towel that has olive oil on it. Pour the ziti in the bottom. Pour the meat mixture over it and gently press down. Spread the grated cheese over the top evenly, then pour the béchamel over it all. 

  7. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 350° for about 30 minutes. The top will be browned and the sides will be bubbly. Remove from the heat and let "rest" for about 10 minutes before serving. Now dig in and enjoy!

béchamel sauce
  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Stir in the flour and cook until it becomes lightly browned and smells nutty. Stir constantly and don't leave it. You don't want it to burn. Using a whisk, stir in the milk, whisking while pouring. Cook on low, stirring constantly, until it becomes thick and creamy. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

  2. Using a whisk, stir in the milk, whisking while pouring. Cook on low, stirring constantly, until it becomes thick and creamy.

  3. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

Recipe Notes

© Copyright 2021 The Lazy Gastronome

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8 Responses to Pastitsio – Baked Greek Ziti

  1. I love Greek food. This looks yummers!!!

  2. Helen, I had forgotten all about pastitsio, it’s been so many years since I’ve made it! I’ll have to compare your recipe to my old one. It looks and sounds sooooo good! Think I’ll try it soon.

  3. Something to add to my ongoing desires to make more and more Greek foods! At least until I try a couple country’s cuisines that I’ve missed out on so far (Portugal?), Greek food is my favorite European cuisine atm.

  4. Miz Helen says:

    5 stars
    Your Pastitsio- Baked Ziti looks delicious and I just pinned it to our features board. We are so excited to feature your post on Full Plate Thursday,541 this week. Thanks so much for sharing with us and come back real soon!
    Miz Helen

    • HelenFern says:

      WOW!! Thanks Helen – I’m honored! I try to get to your party every week but I’ve missed a few recently. What a nice welcome back!!

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