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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. With extra béchamel on top and slices of cheese in between the layers, this pastitsio is one of my favorite recipes!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Greek
Servings 5 servings


  • 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.
Keyword cheese, cheesy, easy pastitsio, pasta, pastitsio, tomato sauce