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How to make Pastitsio!

Updated on May 13, 2013
Pastitsio | Source

Pastitsio - Makaronia tou fournou

Pastitsio is a well known Greek dish. It has been mostly popular in Cyprus where it is referred to as “makaronia tou fournou” meaning “oven pasta”.

The dish is consisted of a pasta layer, covered with a mince layer which is topped up by another pasta layer and finally a béchamel cream on top. There are numerous variations of this recipe; this hub will therefore introduce you to my own Pastitsio recipe.


© All Rights Reserved - Chris Achilleos

Please rate my recipe!

5 stars from 4 ratings of Pastitsio

Cook Time

Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 45 min
Yields: Serves up to 6 people

Buy Halloumi from amazon!

What is Halloumi?

Halloumi is a traditional Cypriot white cheese. It is usually made of goat’s milk or sheep milk however, cows milk or a combination of these may also be used to make halloumi.


  • 400 g Tomato Passata
  • 250 g Pork Mince
  • 250 g Penne Rigate Pasta
  • 100 g Cheddar Cheese, Grated
  • 50 g Halloumi Cheese, Grated
  • 50 g Feta Cheese, Grated or Crumbled
  • 1 Medium sized onion, Chopped
  • 3 eggs, Separate yolks from whites
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Plain flour
  • 2 ½ Teaspoons Salt
  • 2/3 Teaspoon Ground white pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Pure lemon juice
  • ½ Teaspoon Dry Basil leaves
  • ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon, powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Sugar
  • ½ Tablespoon Butter
Drained buttered pasta mixed with egg whites.
Drained buttered pasta mixed with egg whites. | Source

Instructions for the pasta:

  1. Boil 1 Litre of Water and add ½ teaspoon salt.
  2. Once boiling hot add in the pasta to cook for approximately 15 minutes (Stir thoroughly to avoid getting the pasta stuck together)
  3. When ready drain the water and add ½ spoon butter to the pasta
  4. Then mix the egg whites with the drained and buttered pasta

Instructions for the mince:

  1. While the pasta is cooking fry the chopped onion until there is a light golden color
  2. Add the mince in and stir thoroughly for about 5 minutes, (until the mince color changes).
  3. Then add in 1 ½ teaspoon salt, the white pepper and the basil.
  4. Now stir in a tablespoon of pure lemon juice followed by the tomato passata.
  5. Leave it on the heat for approximately another 10 minutes.
  6. When the mince is cooked remove from heat.

*Note for chili lovers*

I love chili so I usually add crushed chilies to the mince of my Pastitsio. Therefore, I would strongly recommend adding some crushed chilies for a hot bite!

Mince | Source

How to separate the egg white and yolk!

Instructions for the Béchamel cream

  1. If you haven't done so yet, now is a good time to separate the yolks and whites of the eggs (the yolks will be used for the cream whereas the whites should be mixed in your drained pasta)
  2. Place the milk in a saucepan to heat up (gas mark 4).
  3. While on the heat mix the 3 egg yolks with the milk.
  4. When hot add in the flour, feta, halloumi and cheese.
  5. Continue mixing until a thick creamy texture is formed (stir thoroughly to avoid burning the cream)
  6. Finally stir in the salt, sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
  7. Now take the cream off the heat.

Pre-cooking step by step photo instructions!

Step 1
Step 1 | Source
Step 2
Step 2 | Source
Step 3
Step 3 | Source
Step 4
Step 4 | Source
Step 5 - Pastitsio prior to being cooked
Step 5 - Pastitsio prior to being cooked | Source

Pre cooking Instructions

1. Evenly place half of your cooked pasta in an oven pan.

2. Spread the mince, evenly, on top of the pasta layer.

3. Then add the rest of your cooked pasta on top of the mince, forming again an even layer.

4. Following add the cream on top of the pasta.

5. Before placing this in the oven, be sure to add some grated cheese as well as a pinch of cinnamon on top of the cream.

Oven Directions

  1. Preheat your oven at 170º.
  2. Then cook for approximately 20 minutes.
  3. When ready allow the pastitsio to cool down for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.



Cooked pastitsio!
Cooked pastitsio! | Source


There are many different variations of making Pastitsio. Therefore this is my own personal recipe for this dish. It has not been copied from a cook book or any other source.

Any unauthorized reprint is prohibited unless you have my permission to do so. For details contact me at

© 2013 All Rights Reserved – Chris Achilleos


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    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 14 months ago

      Hello Mike thanks for your feedback ;)

      Yes you could add mint or dry parsley if you wish.

    • profile image

      Mike 2 years ago

      I just made makaronia tou fournou for the first time this past weekend. It was a huge success. Does anyone add mint to their recipe? I followed my friend Ivy's recipe (she is from Cyprus) and she adds mint to hers.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 4 years ago

      My pleasure stessily

      I am so glad you liked it! I also prefer penne :) Pastitsio is indeed a delicious dish and its nice to know that you are also a fan of it!

      Thank you very much for your kind comments.


    • profile image

      stessily 4 years ago

      Chris, I love love love pastitsio. Oftentimes memories of its textures, tastes, and flavors come, unbidden, to me, and then I know what I'm making for dinner. I especially favor penne in pastitsio; its texture seems absolute perfect for this dish. Because I like corkscrew rotelle, I do sometimes substitute that pasta for a different texture and effect.

      Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe.

      Appreciatively, Stessily

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 4 years ago

      Thank you very much for the support Lady E, I am very glad that you found the images helpful.

      Have a nice day,


    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 4 years ago from London, UK

      Lovely Recipe and the photos are very helpful in illustrating.

      Thanks. 5 Star.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 4 years ago

      My pleasure! It so nice to hear from you Annie. I am very happy that you found my recipe useful, and I am absolutely thrilled that the dish was a success!

      Sweet Italian sausage sounds delicious, and it must of worked out perfectly in the pastitsio. Did you use this as an alternative for the mince or did you include both?

    • Annie Miller profile image

      Annie Miller 4 years ago from Wichita Falls, Texas

      Chris, this is amazing! I used sweet Italian sausage and followed your recipe & directions. It was a huge hit and this will NOT be the first time I make it.

      Thank you for sharing!

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 4 years ago

      @Mhatter99 and @IslandBites:

      Thank you both for reading and commenting!

    • IslandBites profile image

      IslandBites 4 years ago from Puerto Rico


    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 4 years ago

      Hi Elia, thank you very much for your comments.

      I have been using penne in my pastitsio for years now. But I do know many people who use spaghetti no.2. There is a slight difference between the two however, both taste delicious in pastitsio.

      It's really nice to know that you like halloumi. Cypriots usually use a lot of halloumi in their cream. I love using feta, halloumi and cheddar cheese. The combination just gives the cream a different flavor :)

    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 4 years ago from Athens, Greece

      Great hub and recipe Chris!

      I agree there are many variations in this recipe. In my case, I usually prefer spaghetti no.2 (by which I mean the smaller the number, the thicker the pasta, if there is such a universal numbering) instead of penne.

      Your halloumi recommendation also sounds perfect. Never try that, although halloumi is one of my favorites.

      I'm all hungry now :)

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 4 years ago

      Hi Annie, I am very happy that you like it! Pastitsio is just delicious, I am sure you wont regret trying it. I will certainly be looking forward to receiving your feedback on this recipe!

      Enjoy :)

      Thank you so much for your kind comments


    • Annie Miller profile image

      Annie Miller 4 years ago from Wichita Falls, Texas

      Chris this looks and sounds amazing! You have solved my 'Whats For Dinner' dilemma, too - I have everything on hand. Can not wait to dig in! Thanks.