Pastitsio/Macaroni Bechamel

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Average: 5 (2 votes)
Serves 4

Pastitsio is a fantastic and delicious Greek/Mediterranean baked pasta dish which includes a meat sauce and béchamel sauce. It is a version of the Italian dish pasticcio di pasta, also known as lasagne al forno.

The Egyptian name for this dish is Macaroni Bechamel.

Ingredients for Meat Sauce
400 gm
beef mince
small onions, chopped
2 tbsp
1/4 cup
beef broth or water
1 tsp
garlic paste
1 tsp
ginger paste
salt to taste
1 tsp
tomatoes, blended
green chillies
1 tsp
cumin powder
1/4 tsp
turmeric powder
1/2 tsp
bay leaf
1/4 tsp
cinnamon powder
Ingredients for the Béchamel Sauce
2 tbsp
2 tbsp
1 1/2 cups
milk at room temperature
1/3 cup
egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup
shredded cheese, like parmesan or mozzarella
1/2 tsp
1 tsp
black pepper powder
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup
of the meat sauce that you will be preparing
Ingredients for Macaroni
250 gm
thin tube short pasta like penne or anything similar
water for boiling

First, prepare the meat sauce

Heat the oil in a pan, then add the onions and fry until transparent, then add the ginger and garlic paste and salt. Stir fry for a couple of minutes, then add the beef mince and cook on medium heat until all the water evaporates. Sprinkle the black pepper, turmeric, cumin powder, cinnamon, bay leaf and oregano. Once the mince is completely dry and begins sticking to the bottom of the pan, pour in the broth or water to de-glaze the pan. Now blend the tomatoes with the green chilies and add it in the mince, along with the tomato paste. Sprinkle the sugar, mix then cover and reduce heat to low, let it simmer for about half an hour.

In the meantime, boil the pasta as per the packet directions. Make sure you don't over-cook the pasta as they will bake later, so cook them about three-quarter done (add salt and oil to the boiling water). Drain and set aside.

Check on the sauce, if it has thickened, adjust seasoning and turn off the heat. You can add water if it needs it. It should be on the thick-gravy side. Once ready, turn off the heat, then remove quarter cup of the mince and set it aside to be used in the béchamel later.

Pour the cooked pasta into the meat sauce and gently stir until combined, taking care not to break the pasta. Grease an 11x7" pan with some butter and pour the pasta n meat sauce into it. Preheat the oven at 180 C.

Then you can prepare the béchamel sauce

Heat butter in a pan till melted sprinkle the flour and stir together for about 2 minutes. Then remove from the heat and gradually add the milk a little at a time while whisking continuously. Once all the milk is in, put the pan back on the heat and keep whisking on medium to low heat until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Then remove from the heat and add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the cheese and mix it in. Then add the lightly beaten egg and IMMEDIATELY whisk very quickly to combine, remember the béchamel will still be hot so if you are slow the egg will cook and remain chunky, you want it to blend in well in the sauce. Once it has combined well into the sauce, add the yoghurt and the reserved quarter cup of meat sauce. Mix everything well and then pour the sauce over the pasta/meat sauce in the dish. You can sprinkle some extra cheese on top if you want. Now bake in the pre-heated 180 C oven for about 40 minutes or until golden.

When ready, let the dish sit for about half an hour so the cheese sets before serving.

Enjoy! :)


aslmwk. wat if i dont bake it? just cook it up on stove?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, it won't turn out the exact same, but you can try.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, you can discard or just leave them in there to continue infusing their flavour into the dish.

slms in the recipe you said we have to add bay i wanted to knw that after sauce is cooked should we discard the bayleaf ?

Can we leave out Parmesan cheese or anything else??

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

You can use any cheese that you prefer, like mozzarella.

I meant or use some other cheese??

Does it work if I make it with chicken?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes you can use chicken.

Aoa, Jazakallah for this yummy recepie....I made it yesterday n taste was great but when I cut a slice n placed on plate it couldn't hold itself.... Macroni layer and bechamel sauce layer separated. Bechamel sauce with topping of cheese was intact but macroni n mince sauce couldn't stand.... I thought it would be like a slice of pizza where every thing is in place.... Is this is normal or I made any mistake... Hope u understand my question. Kindly help me.... Lots of best wishes for u:)

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, yes that is normally it will not hold very solid as it is a saucy mixture in there. Also, after baking if you allow it to cool before slicing it will be a little easier to handle.

Ok thanks n Jazakallah.

Salam Fauzia

For the sauce, is there anything else I can use instead of cheese because of lactose intolerance :(


Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, you can leave out the cheese, the white sauce will be enough. :)

Thank you so much Fauzia, will try over the weekend InshaAllah :D

kareema shafraz's picture

Salams fsuziya... Can I du this without shreded cheese... Bcz cheese is not good for my migraine

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, you can although cheese is an important part of the overall flavour of the dish. Without it the dish will not taste as good.

Salam can we use chicken broth if we are using chicken instead of beef?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, yes definitely.

What if we omit yogurt from the sauce? Most traditional pastitsio recipes don't use yogurt. And for the mince, do we have to cook mince this way as directed by recipe or can we brown the mince any way we like and follow rest of recipe?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

You can omit the yoghurt if you like, it adds a nice creaminess to the dish. Best to make the mince as per the recipe. But cooking is a lot about experimenting, so if you want to dry it and use then by all means go ahead. :)

Salam. Tried this today. The result was good but there was a little problem with my white sauce. It got a little runny after the addition of yogurt and egg so I put it on heat for some time to thicken it a little. To my dismay, it slightly left water and coagulated a bit... Just a bit... Not really a disaster but yes... Thought I should ask. Can you help please Is it supposed to be runny and strictly NO Heating once one has added yogurt and egg?

Overall, the taste was good. Plan to make it again, Inshallah!

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, thanks. It should not be very runny unless the yoghurt was very watery? In which case always try and drain off excess water from the yoghurt so that it is thick. And I believe what happened is the egg got scrambled in the mixture, Do not put it on the heat next time, just use it in the recipe and the excess moisture will get absorbed by the pasta as it bakes.

I tried this yesterday for Iftar. It turned out amazing! Very creamy and scrumptious! Great recipe!

sadiya mariyam's picture

sister can i replace the macaroni with spaghetti?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes you can.

Assalamu alaikum..i love ur cooking! jazakillahu khaira 4 wonderful recipes.
wich typ of milk did u usd here???can i use full cream milk powder???

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, I use liquid milk, either whole milk or semi-skimmed.

Assalamu alaikum! Can i use curd instead of youghurt??if can how much should i use ??

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, yes you can...just make sure it is fresh. Same amount.