My grandpa’s easy pastitsio recipe may not be traditional (we are Italian and not Greek after all) but it’s still so delicious you’ll be going back for seconds. With extra béchamel on top and slices of cheese in between the layers, this pastitsio is one of my favorite recipes! It’s something I asked for all the time as a kid, and now I’ve got the recipe and I can make it myself whenever I’m craving it. And with my mom’s permission I get to share it all with you as well!
Super Easy Pastitsio
My grandpa’s pastitsio recipe is super easy and pretty quick. No non-sense, straight to the point deliciousness. And all the cheese has always been my favorite part! My mom told me that they’ve been making this easy pastitsio recipe since she was a kid. My grandpa always liked to save a dollar and stretch a meal with some pasta. Over the years it’s become the pastitsio I’ve come to love.
But I’ve got to say my favorite part may be the most untraditional part of the dish. The slices of American cheese layered between the sauce and pasta. They add the perfect amount of cheesiness to the sauce. And even if cheese doesn’t love me, that will never stop me for loving cheese! The American cheese, mixed with the sauce, and the béchamel on top makes the perfect cheesy bowl of pasta.
From what I can tell, traditional pastitsio is more of a casserole or lasagna, with all the pasta lined up at the bottom. And it’s absolutely delicious, but it feels so nice keeping my grandpa’s recipe alive for generations to come. I may not get to see him as often as I would like but his recipes will always be close to my heart. There’s something so nice about having a little index card with the recipe in his handwriting.
More Happy Stirring Recipes to Try:
If you like this pastitsio recipe, I have good news for you – I have a ton of pasta recipes for you to check out. You can say I’m a pasta connoisseur of sorts.
- Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu
- Baked Feta Pasta with Zucchini and Sausage
- Pasta with Spicy Sausage and Green Onions
- Spicy Vodka Pasta with Creamy Goat Cheese
- Easy Kale Pesto
- Creamy Butternut Squash & Pancetta Cacio E Pepe
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 16 oz tomato sauce
- 4 oz water
- 1 lb pasta medium shells
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4 Tbsps unsalted butter
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup romano cheese
- 10 slices American cheese
- Boil pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Meanwhile, a large pan over medium heat, brown ground beef and chopped onion, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat into small pieces. Cook the ground beef through, 10 – 15 minutes.
- Drain the grease from the pan.
- Add tomato sauce, water, and salt & pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a separate small sauce pan, make your béchamel by melting the butter, and whisking in the flour. Then slowly add in the milk (about 1/2 cup at a time) whisking frequently. When the sauce gets thick, add the next 1/2 cup of milk and repeat the process until all the milk is added in. Add cheese and stir to combine.
- In a large (at least 4 quarts) casserole dish, layer half of the cooked pasta, then 5 slices of American cheese, then add the meat sauce, the remaining pasta, and another layer of 5 slices of American cheese. Top with béchamel sauce.
- Cook in oven for 30 minutes, until top is golden brown.
Make sure you follow my Instagram to get some behind the scenes of my upcoming posts and recipe tests! And if you make this recipe, make sure to tag me in it so I can see you’re beautiful plates of pasta!