How To Make Greek Lasagna Casserole

How to Make Greek Lasagna Casserole

4.8 stars from 5 ratings of Greek Lasagna Casserole

Rediscovering an old family favorite

To me, the ultimate in comfort food is a warm savory casserole. Recently I was looking through some old favorites (recipes) of my moms and I came across one for Greek Lasagna, also known as pastitsio.

My mother acquired this wonderful recipe thanks to me and my allergies to biting insects. When I was eleven years old I was out playing with a group of kids in the neighborhood. I received hundreds of mosquito bites on my legs and had to go to the emergency room that evening.

The next day a concerned neighbor brought this dish over. I think she may have thought my condition was a little more severe.

My family had never had "Greek" lasagna before. We were used to our traditional Italian lasagna. The the unique flavor of the cinnamon and allspice was unexpected, but wildly delicious. It soon became a family favorite. Sadly I lost the recipe in piles of my mother's cook books and files. It wasn't until my daughter pulled a purple note card from the back of a recipe box. (It never stops to amaze me how 3 year-old is magically drawn into the gravitational pull of the color purple.)

The purple note card was my neighbors original that my mom must have recopied on her own plain white note cards. It brought me back to this wonderful savory dish. It is well worth the prep time to make. And once you make it a couple of times you don't really need the recipe.

Cook Time

Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 35 min
Ready in: 1 hour 20 min
Yields: Six to eight servings

Ingredients for Greek Lasagna

  • 1 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs Lean ground beef, May substitute ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 cup fresh parmigiana or romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 LB elbow pasta

Instructions for meat sauce

  1. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent. Put aside in bowl.
  2. Brown the meat until it gets a nice and crispy around the edges, but not burnt. Don't be afraid to really brown it because it only bakes in the oven for 35 minutes. Don't forget to drain the grease!
  3. Turn burner down low and add your onions and garlic and cinnamon, oregano and allspice. Stir to incorporate all the spices evenly.
  4. Add tomato sauce. Some recipes for Greek Lasagna call for tomato paste, but I find some pastes can make the meat sauce too sour. It's easier for me to use the sauce.
  5. Add the wine and stir for 2-3 minutes. Sauce will thicken nicely. Set aside until pasta is cooked
  6. Cook pasta, drain and put in bowl to mix with bechamel sauce.

Bechamel sauce

I love Bechamel sauce. It's so creamy and scrumptious and easy to make. Sometimes, if my little ones are particularly good I will make a batch and poor it over some rice or pasta. They eat so well those evenings.

It is truly one of the easiest sauces to make once you get the knack. You can only mess this up if you are impatient because it must be cooked on low heat. You only bring to a boil when it's time to thicken the sauce.

There are many versions of this simple white sauce. the Italian version calls for nutmeg. I do not add this to my bechamel because it tastes too similar to Alfredo sauce which to me are two entirely different sauces. My mouth expects Italian when I add nutmeg and Greek Lasagna is completely different to me.

Quick and Easy Bechamel Sauce

  1. In a small saucepan simmer milk and Bayleaf on a low.
  2. Make a roux in a medium sauce pan on gentle heat. you do this my melting butter slowly until foamy. careful not to burn. Slowly add flour to butter whisking quickly for 2 minutes to until flour is well incorporated with the butter. This will avoid that floury taste.
  3. Remove Bayleaf and discard.
  4. Add milk and cream to roux still whisking to remove all lumps.
  5. Add salt and white pepper.
  6. Slowly bring to boil and keep whisking until sauce begins to thicken.
  7. Take off heat. (Very important!)
  8. Whisk in 1 cup of Romano cheese.

Ingredients for Bechamel Sauce

  • 5 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup of white flour
  • 3 cups of whole milk
  • 3 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cup of Romano cheese
  • 3 large eggs

Good little pasta waiting for a Bechamel bath.
Good little pasta waiting for a Bechamel bath. | Source
Source
Meat sauce over pasta
Meat sauce over pasta | Source

Assembly of Greek Lasagna: Step 1

Once bechamel is finished add 2 cups to the pasta and stir well. Make sure to coat noodles evenly.Spread out noodles in the casserole.



Assembly of Greek Lasagna: Step 2

The next step is to add the meat sauce evenly over pasta.




Tempered eggs
Tempered eggs | Source

Side step

In between Steps 2 and 3 you have to beat your 3 large eggs that should be at room temperature. Temper the eggs by adding one cup of the warm Bechamel sauce and gently whisking. When it is blended well slowly whisk in the tempered egg sauce to the rest of the Bechamel in the pan. Do not heat.

If you do not temper the eggs the heat from the Bechamel sauce will cook the eggs.

Spreading Bechamel over Meat Sauce
Spreading Bechamel over Meat Sauce | Source

Assembly of Greek Lasagna: Step 3

After tempering eggs and adding to remaining Bechamel sauce mix stir the mixture until smooth and creamy. Layer sauce over meat sauce and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of Romano cheese on top.

Bake for 35 minutes

Bake at 425 for 35 minutes and let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve with warm bread and a salad.

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© 2013 LA Elsen

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Comments 22 comments

Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

Not a lasagna dish I was familiar with. Looks delicious.


VVanNess profile image

VVanNess 2 years ago from Prescott Valley

Yummy! Yummy! This looks amazing and I love the pictures. We are always looking for a better lasagna recipe. We'll be giving this a try!


lesliebyars profile image

lesliebyars 2 years ago from Alabama

This looks and sounds great!! I have a recipe that has been passed down in my family but, I will have to try this one. Thank you for sharing. I have shared my lasagna recipe as one of my hubs if you would like to try it out. I voted up and awesome and will share on pinterest.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Oh my, your Greek lasagna casserole looks so good. Your photos sure do it justice too. They really make me want to try it. Thanks!


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

This is a beautiful recipe. When I lived in NYC I lived near a greek diner that made the all time best pastitsio and I have never had the nerve to make it myself. Now I will. Shared pinned tweeted. Awesome hub!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 3 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

I have to share this. I came upon your recipe and did not recognize from the title you were talking about Patstitsio!

I LOVED the story behind the recipe.

Decided I would make it.

I ended up going to not one, not two, but THREE stores to

get all the ingredients. Why? Because I neglected to print out and take the recipe. Who would have guessed you have to use whole milk long with heavy cream? Plus, I discovered I was out of bay leaves and had no white pepper.

Anyway, today I set aside a chunk of time to try out this delicious looking recipe. Your photos are lip-smacking!

It is 109 degrees here in Sacramento today. Perfect weather for a comfort food casserole. LOL.

I made a complete and utter mess of my kitchen, even splattering bechamel on my cabinets, floor and legs.

But, it's in the oven now.

We may not eat it today. May let it set overnight.

Thank you for the inspiration and recipe! MM


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 3 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

I stumbled upon your hub, not looking specifically for comfort food or a new lasagna recipe (109 degrees forecast for tomorrow). But your lead phote lured me in. Kept reading through the delightful personal story (loved the purple card!).

I've made plenty of lasagnas in my day. My hubby has made pastitsio but I never have.

Well, I'm off to make a gluten free version with rice noodle elbows. I will let you know how it comes out.

Cheers, MM


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

I forgot you're the same one who posted the recipe for Broccoli Fritters! I just came here to tell you that I made this last night, and both of us loved it! It's so funny that when I looked at the recipes yesterday, it didn't register that both of them were by you. Awesome! Have a great week.


LA Elsen profile image

LA Elsen 3 years ago from Chicago, IL Author

Thanks kashmir56. I hope you have a chance to make it. Thanks for the vote up and sharing. Take care


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 3 years ago from Massachusetts

This sounds so yummy and look awesome from these photos, and it not a real hard recipe to do either. Well done !

Vote up and more !!! Sharing !


LA Elsen profile image

LA Elsen 3 years ago from Chicago, IL Author

Thanks teaches. I hope you enjoy it. It is really not too difficult to make. It was funny because the photos were hard to take as I was making it because my hands were getting messy and I had a new camera. I think I clicked too many so I am glad you liked them.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

My mouth is watering! Your photos make this recipe so tempting. Thanks for sharing and I hope to have some real soon.


LA Elsen profile image

LA Elsen 3 years ago from Chicago, IL Author

Thankyou xmags. This recipe is one of those that most children like. It has noodles and cheese. My kids 2 favorite ingredients. I hope your baby brother likes it. My mother is gone now, but I have a million stories that come from inside her recipe box. Thanks for voting up. Take care.


xmags profile image

xmags 3 years ago from Philippines

Wow. This dish sounds so yummy and your story made me wish my recipes had stories as well. LOL. Anyway, it was wonderfully written and I have also never had Greek Lasagna Casserole before. I have a baby brother who's half Greek so maybe we can make this dish sometime when he comes over to the Philippines to visit. I'm sure it'll taste as good as you described. Thank you for this recipe. It's very interesting. Voted up. :)


LA Elsen profile image

LA Elsen 3 years ago from Chicago, IL Author

Kathryn, It sounds like your niece is a very lucky purple girl to have an aunt like you.

It took awhile to get my husband on board with this because when he hears lasagna he wants the Italian kind, but he changed his mind.

I agree, the noodles are so much easier than the flat noodles. Personally, I have a hard time with the "science" behind making a good Italian lasagna. My noodles are too dry or I add too much sauce or both. This recipe has always turned out for me. I really hope you and your boyfriend enjoy it.!


LA Elsen profile image

LA Elsen 3 years ago from Chicago, IL Author

Peggy W. It really is different compared to traditional Italian lasagna and the elbow noodles which I don't use that much actually stay compact when slicing a piece because of the béchamel sauce so you don't get that slippery sliding effect like lasagna noodles can have. (at least for my lasagna.)

and I know I have to thank my purple girl. She is my lucky charm! Thanks for the vote and for sharing.


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

I absolutely love hearing sweet backstories behind recipes. I'm so glad your daughter found the recipe. Purple is a very beautiful color. I buy purple things for my niece all of the time, because she is drawn to the color.

I have never heard of this, and it sounds fantastic. I like that it requires elbow noodles, because I rarely have lasagna noodles laying around. I also really like casseroles. I will refer back to this soon, and make it after our next grocery trip. I look forward to trying it out, and I have a feeling it will be a big hit with my boyfriend, as well.

Thanks for sharing this with us!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

This Greek Lasagna sounds like a delicious spin on the regular Italian one of which most people are familiar. It would be easier to make and eat with the elbow macaroni and the spices would lend a distinct flavor. Glad that your 3 year old was drawn to that purple recipe card. Up and interesting and will share.


LA Elsen profile image

LA Elsen 3 years ago from Chicago, IL Author

Thanks Blossom. It really is good. I hope you like it!


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

What a yummy recipe. Thanks for sharing it, I'll look forward to trying it out.


LA Elsen profile image

LA Elsen 3 years ago from Chicago, IL Author

Thanks always exploring. It is from another planet compared to traditional lasagna, but just as delicious. I find it easier to make. My husband made a version of it when he was a Navy cook years ago when he had to feed an entire ship full of hungry men and it was one of his most requested dishes. I hope you enjoy it.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

This looks so delicious. I love lasagna, like you, i am used to Italian. I will try this. Thank you for sharing...

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