Ina Garten’s Pastitsio

Prep Time: 1 hr | Cook Time: 45 mins | Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins | Yield: 8 Servings

This meaty and cheesy dish is insanely delicious! Ready in less than two hours, this recipe is surely a must-try!


For the Meat Sauce

1 can (28 oz) of San Marzano tomatoes

1 tbsp minced garlic (3 large cloves)

1 lb. lean ground lamb (can substitute for pork)

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

½ c dry red wine

A pinch of cayenne pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Bechamel

1 ½ c freshly grated Parmesan, divided

⅔ c Greek yoghurt

¾ lb. small shells, preferably ziti noodles

¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ c all-purpose flour

2 ½ c of low-fat milk

4 tbsp (½ stick) unsalted butter


Meat Sauce:

Place a large pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium-high.

Add olive oil and allow it to become hot.

Add the onion, then sauté for a few minutes until translucent.

Add the ground meat, then cook for about 10 minutes or until crumbly and brown. Discard any accumulated fat.

Pour wine into the pot, then scrape the bottom to get the browned bits. Stir until well blended and simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the wine reduces its volume.

Add the oregano, garlic, cinnamon, cayenne, and thyme. Stir until well blended. Simmer for another 2 minutes.

Add 1 tsp pepper, tomatoes, and 2 tsp salt. Stir until well mixed. Use a spoon to crush the tomatoes. Simmer everything for about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the heat.

To Make the Bechamel:

Prepare the oven and preheat to 175 degrees C or 350 degrees F.

Place a saucepan on the stove and turn the heat to medium.

Add butter and allow it to melt.

Add flour, then whisk and cook for a minute to remove the raw taste.

Add milk, then whisk until well blended. Simmer for about 8 minutes or until the texture becomes thick.

Add 1 tsp pepper, nutmeg, and 1 tsp salt. Stir until well blended. Add more seasonings if needed.

Add ¾ cup of Parmesan cheese, then stir until well blended. Remove the pan from the stove and let the sauce cool for at least 10 minutes.

Add the Greek yoghurt and stir until well blended.

Refer to the directions provided on the package of the pasta on how to cook it. Drain and transfer it into the pot with the sauce. Stir until well coated.

Transfer the mixture into a 9×13-inch lasagna baking dish.

Add the Bechamel sauce on top and spread it evenly.

Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Place it in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 to 60 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.

Serve and enjoy!