Makes a lot and is just incredible. Everyone loves this dish and it is worth the effort.

Recipe Summary

prep:
45 mins
cook:
1 hr 30 mins
additional:
10 mins
total:
2 hrs 25 mins
Servings:
10
Yield:
1 9x13-inch casserole
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Ingredients

10
Original recipe yields 10 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Pasta:
Meat Sauce:
Cream Sauce:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

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  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti and cook until tender yet firm to the bite, 8 to 10 minutes.

  • Melt butter until golden brown and pour over ziti, add Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Toss well. Cool briefly. Add eggs and toss again; set aside.

  • To make meat sauce: Gently fry onion and garlic in butter in a skillet until onion is soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Increase heat and add ground beef; stir well. Cook until meat begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, wine, broth, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

  • To make cream sauce: Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour and cook gently for 2 minutes. Pour in milk all at once and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil gently for 1 minute. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cool slightly before stirring in beaten egg. Transfer 1/2 cup of this sauce to the meat sauce.

  • To assemble pastitsio: Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Spoon half of the prepared ziti evenly in the bottom and top with meat sauce. Top with remaining ziti. Pour on cream sauce and spread to completely cover ziti. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

  • Bake in a preheated oven for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

Cook's Note:

Substitute Kefalotiri cheese for the Parmesan if desired.

Tip

Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

576 calories; protein 25.7g 51% DV; carbohydrates 45.9g 15% DV; fat 31g 48% DV; cholesterol 167.7mg 56% DV; sodium 432.3mg 17% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (152)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
11/12/2003
This is an authentic and wonderful recipe, and I have been making it for years. It is out of Tess Mallos’s The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook. A really wonderful Middle Eastern Cookbook. At the end of this recipe in the last part of the instructions she has, “Sprinkle remaining cheese on top” but she left the amount out. It is 1/2 cup. Read More
(79)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
01/14/2008
This is a nice recipe, but you'll need a 1/2 cup of parmasean cheese instead of the 1/4 c listed (1/4 c for the ziti mixture and another 1/4 c on top). When assembling the dish, distribute 1/2 the cream sauce over the pasta on the bottom before adding the layer of meat sauce (then add the rest of the pasta and cover with the rest of the cream sauce). I find that at least a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon in the meat sauce gives the dish a more traditional flavor, although in reviews of other versions on this site suggest it is challenging to those having it for the first time. Read More
(95)
185 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 100
  • 4 star values: 51
  • 3 star values: 23
  • 2 star values: 9
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 3 stars
01/14/2008
This is a nice recipe, but you'll need a 1/2 cup of parmasean cheese instead of the 1/4 c listed (1/4 c for the ziti mixture and another 1/4 c on top). When assembling the dish, distribute 1/2 the cream sauce over the pasta on the bottom before adding the layer of meat sauce (then add the rest of the pasta and cover with the rest of the cream sauce). I find that at least a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon in the meat sauce gives the dish a more traditional flavor, although in reviews of other versions on this site suggest it is challenging to those having it for the first time. Read More
(95)
Rating: 5 stars
11/12/2003
This is an authentic and wonderful recipe, and I have been making it for years. It is out of Tess Mallos’s The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook. A really wonderful Middle Eastern Cookbook. At the end of this recipe in the last part of the instructions she has, “Sprinkle remaining cheese on top” but she left the amount out. It is 1/2 cup. Read More
(79)
Rating: 5 stars
01/03/2004
This is delicious!!! My Mother-in-law who is Greek has been making this for years and everyone loves this popular Greek casserole! I made this for dinner last night and she said that it was excellent! I thought that was a great compliment coming from a Greek! Everyone loves this, even my picky husband and teenage son and they are always looking for any leftovers. My son requests this and now I can make it myself just like Yiayia's! I used Muellers ready cut ziti pasta. When assembling I mixed all of the pasta with the meat sauce and poured into the pan, then topped with the cream sauce. I sprinkled the top with fresh ground nutmeg. This definately is worth the effort and everyone does love this dish! This is a family favorite and I will be making this often! Everyone should try this dish! Thank you for submitting this recipe! Read More
(65)
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Rating: 5 stars
12/21/2008
I was impressed how much this tasted like pastitsio I've ordered at Greek restaurants - very authentic. It does take a long time, but it's worth it. And it smells fabulous! I did make a number of changes - Reduced the amount of Parmesan cheese and egg added to the pasta at the beginning (didn't miss it); Added cinnamon and nutmeg to the meat (highly suggest doing this); Increased the amount of garlic added to the meat (my MO for almost every recipe); Used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth and used dry parsley instead of fresh (didn't notice either change); Added feta cheese to the cream sauce (I have no idea if this made a difference, just following a reviewer's suggestion). I also followed a reviewer's suggestion and tossed half the pasta with a little bit of the cream sauce and tossed the other half of the pasta with the meat sauce. Then first put the cream sauce-tossed pasta in the dish, then the meat sauce-tossed pasta, and finally the rest of the cream sauce. Came out great (seemed like a logical suggestion to me, thus why I followed it). Read More
(29)
Rating: 5 stars
09/06/2006
I really enjoyed this dish. I didn't add the broth, added water instead. The other thing that I did different was that I put the noodles in the pan, added the butter, and cheese with the egg and mixed it up. I then added the beef mixture and topped that with the bechamel sauce. Just like my mother used to make. Thanks for sharing this recipe! Read More
(27)
Rating: 5 stars
03/01/2006
I have tried several pastitsio recipes this is by far the best and most authentic. Its not difficult to make and its delicious. Read More
(20)
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Rating: 3 stars
05/01/2008
Pastitsio is one of my favorite baked pasta dishes. My husband made this recipe for us a couple of months ago. It's not my favorite version; I found the cream sauce way too starchy and pasty. I also thought tossing the pasta with butter & parmesan made it a little too heavy and rich-tasting. I prefer making a cream sauce using feta cheese, and tossing half the pasta with that; toss the remaining pasta with the meat sauce (like another poster, I also recommend using ground lamb or half lamb, half beef). Layer the cheese-sauced pasta in the bottom of the baking dish, top with the meat sauce layer, and spread the remaining cream sauce on top. Sprinkle with more crumbled feta and bake. [The version I like courtesy of the Gourmet cookbook]. Read More
(19)
Rating: 5 stars
06/25/2006
I never heard of pastitsio and I am not Greek at all- but I was having a party and someone recommended this off of the community board as a good dish for a large crowd. Well I am glad I made it-sooo delicious. I used the meatloaf mix(beef pork and veal) instead of all ground beef and used only 1/2 of a large onion and 3 cloves of garlic for the meat sauce. For the cream sauce I did use 2 cups milk and 1 cup heavy cream-hey it is a fattening dish already-why not completely clog the arteries! And made the rest as stated-although I did forget the final sprinkle of parmesan cheese at the end-oops no big deal. Made the night before and just cooked the next day and it was so worth the efforts. Lots of compliments and lots of people wanting the recipe. THANKS! Read More
(17)
Rating: 5 stars
01/13/2011
I wanted a meatless meal so I subbed a pound of mushrooms for the ground beef- and it was FABULOUS! We will definitely make this often. Read More
(16)
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