We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Pastitsio?

By Greer Hed
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Pastitsio is a baked pasta dish enjoyed in Greece and many other locations in the Mediterranean and Middle East. The dish is quite versatile and many different versions of it exist, with the most typical Greek version consisting of a thick, tube-like pasta, such as bucatini, baked together with a traditional sauce of meat, tomatoes, and spices, and topped with a white sauce, such as a bechamel. It is a hearty, warm meal often considered to be a form of traditional Greek comfort food. Outside of Greece, pastitsio is particularly popular in Cyprus, where it is often called macaronia tou fournou, and in Egypt, where it is often referred to simply as macaroni bechamel.

The word "pastitsio" is a Greek variation on the Italian word "pasticcio," meaning a hodgepodge or scramble, and indeed this dish combines a number of different ingredients together in a single dish. In the most basic Greek version, the pasta used is usually bucatini, although it may also be penne or any other type of short, thick, tube-shaped pasta. The pasta is cooked while the two sauces, a red meat sauce with tomatoes and a creamy white sauce like bechamel, are prepared. All these ingredients are then layered together in a baking dish or roasting pan and baked in the oven.

Even within Greece, many different versions of pastitsio exist. Some recipes include ground lamb in the meat sauce, while others call for ground beef. Cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg are commonly added to the meat sauce for flavor. The white sauce used to top the pastitsio is often a bechamel, or a white sauce made with milk and a light colored roux, a thickening agent made with butter and white flour. However, some recipes call for mornay sauce, a variation on bechamel sauce that includes grated cheese, while other recipes use an egg-based custard as a topping for the pasta dish.

On the island of Cyprus, pastitsio is a popular dish that is often consumed on festive occasions and holidays. A common Cypriot variation on the dish substitutes ground pork for beef or lamb. As pastitsio is often eaten along with a roast in Cyprus, some Cypriot versions omit the meat altogether and simply use tomato sauce. The dish is also often topped with a traditional cheese from Cyprus called haloumi.

Another variation of the dish, called macaroni bechamel, is popular in Egypt. This version usually uses penne pasta instead of the typical Greek bucatini. Onions are sometimes added to the meat sauce and the white sauce used to top the dish may be either bechamel or mornay.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.