Total Time
1hr 50mins
Prep 1 hr
Cook 50 mins

To save some time the meat sauce may be made up to a day ahead if desired, try to use extra-lean ground beef for this it will make a difference in flavor, small penne pasta may be replaced for the ziti, but I do recommend using the ziti, adjust the chili flakes to suit heat level, or you may omit if desired --- also see my Kittencal's Famous Greek Salad

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Set oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  3. In a large pot cook the pasta in boiling water with 1 tablespoons salt until al dente; drain and return the cooked pasta to the pot.
  4. To the pasta add in 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, pinch nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper; mix until combined then allow to cool slightly.
  5. Add in eggs and mix well; set aside.
  6. For the meat sauce; heat olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat; add in onion and crushed chili flakes, cook for about 4 minutes.
  7. Add in garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Add in extra lean ground beef; cook breaking up the meat with a spoon or fork until browned.
  9. Add in tomato paste, wine, beef broth, salt and pepper; mix well, then cover and simmer over low heat for about 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. Meanwhile while the meat sauce is cooking prepare the bechamel sauce; melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour and cayenne pepper; cook stirring for about 2 minutes.
  11. Add in cream and nutmeg; bring to a boil whisking/stirring constantly then cook for about 1 minute.
  12. Cool for about 10 minutes before whisking in the egg.
  13. Season with salt and black pepper.
  14. Remove about 1/2 cup bechamel sauce and mix into to the already cooked ground beef mixture.
  15. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  16. TO ASSEMBLE; spoon HALF of the ziti mixture into the bottom of the baking dish.
  17. Top the ziti mixture with ALL of the meat sauce, then top with remaining ziti mixture.
  18. Pour ALL the bechamel sauce over the ziti mixture then spread out with a spoon to cover.
  19. Top with about 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (can use more or less).
  20. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.
  21. Allow to rest for about 20 minutes before slicing.
Most Helpful

5 5

This is a very good recipe. We all really enjoyed it. The addition of a little Greek seasoning to the meat mixture gave it a nice flavor. Thanks for sharing.

5 5

I have been meaning to review this for a while. I have made this several times and it's great! Just what I was looking for. There is a place in Chicago that serves this and it's my favorite. Chicago is about 3 hours away so needless to say it's a rare treat. Not anymore! I invite my mother in law and her brother over when I make this and they love it, too. I love nutmeg so I add a little extra. I have also used fat free half and half and it's still wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!
I just wanted to update my review because I have made some changes over the past few years using this recipe. I have to say that I'm so happy that I have found this recipe. It is wonderful. So for my changes, I no longer add egg to the bechamel sauce. I found that the sauce gets thick enough without the egg. I also cut down on the amount of butter and flour. I use 3 tablespoons of butter and flour. I use the same amount of liquid, but use whole milk with a little cream added. Maybe 2 cups of WM and 1 cup of HC. I also like to add grated Parmesan cheese to the sauce. It's still rich and creamy without all that butter. That's about all I do differently. One person said they thought it was bland, but I don't think that at all. If you season each component of the dish and salt your pasta water, you will get a very savory dish.

5 5

Excellent recipe for this dish. For those who are less familiar, Pastitsio has subtle flavoring. If you like strong bold flavors only, this dish is probably not for you. If you are a fan of this dish at greek restaurants, you will probably find this quite enjoyable. Takes a bit more work than I can ever do on a week day, but is a wonderful treat when I have the time.