Ariana’s Pastitso (Greek Meat & Macaroni Bake)

a family recipe from her grandmother


For the filling:

¼ c. olive oil
2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
¼ c. red wine
1 lb. Perciatella pasta (or any long pasta that has ridges or curls for absorbing the sauce)
1 ½ c. Kefalotiri cheese, grated*

*This soft cheese can usually be found behind any well-stocked cheese counter, it is not expensive.

For Bechamel Sauce:

¼ c. butter
½ c. flour
3 c. whole milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. Kefalotiri cheese, grated
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet, add onions and stir until translucent. Add the meat and cook until fully browned. Add the red wine and reduce it by half. Then, add the tomatoes and let the mixture simmer on low-heat for about 30 minutes. If it get’s too dry, add a small amount of water to loosen it up.
3. To make the bechamel: Heat the milk in a saucepan over low-heat until it is warm to touch. In a large saucepan melt the butter over low-heat then, working quickly, add the flour and whisk together to make a roux. Whisk for 1 minute to cook the flour slightly. Gradually add the warm milk, stirring constantly so that the mixture stays smooth and everything is fully combined. Keep whisking the sauce until it starts to thicken enough to coat the back of the spoon. Then, remove it from the heat. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add a small amount of the hot sauce to them and stir to combine. This will temper the eggs so that they don’t cook when added into the hot bechamel. Once the eggs are combined, add ¾ c. of the grated cheese and stir until it is melted and totally incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.
5. Once pasta is cool, toss it with 1 t. olive oil to coat and divide it in half. Spread half of the pasta on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Cover with a layer of the grated cheese and all of the meat mixture. Top meat mixture with the remaining half of pasta.
6. Pour bechamel over the pasta and sprinkle remaining ¼ c. of grated cheese over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until top is brown.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

This recipe is newer to me and has already earned a permanent spot in my recipe binder. Everyone in my family loved it’s cheesey baked goodness, and I loved that the size was large enough to feed us for at least two nights.

Naptime Stopwatch

Preparing this dish takes about 45 minutes, but after that it is fairly quick to bake. Remember, spending an hour on one dish is made up with the time you save the next evening – when you don’t have to cook at all!

Naptime Reviews

As noted above, this is a family dish that is great for serving children and adults. My daughter liked slurping her noodles like they were spaghetti – her newest favorite table trick!

More Naptime Recipes

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