Pastitsio Rick Stein Recipe

At its core, Pastitsio is characterized by layers of tender pasta, savoury meat sauce, and a creamy béchamel topping. The pasta, typically penne or macaroni, is cooked until al dente, providing a perfect texture to complement the rich filling. 

The meat sauce, often featuring ground beef or lamb, is cooked with aromatic spices, tomatoes, and herbs, lending a deep and robust flavour profile. Pastitsio recipe allows for flexibility, enabling home cooks to adapt the dish according to their preferences.

Ingredients For Pastitsio Rick Stein Recipe

To prepare the Pastitsio Rick Stein recipe, you will need the following major ingredients:

For the Meat Sauce:

  • 500g ground beef or lamb
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 400g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Pasta:

  • 300g penne or macaroni pasta

For the Béchamel Sauce:

  • 75g butter
  • 75g all-purpose flour
  • 750ml milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

For Assembly and Topping:

  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs (optional)
  • Olive oil for greasing the baking dish

Note: These quantities are approximate and can be adjusted according to personal preference and serving size.

Step-by-Step Guide Pastitsio Rick Stein Recipe Cooking Direction

To cook your pastitsio Rick stein follow this step-by-step guide: 

Step 1: Prepare the Meat Sauce

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pan over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onions and minced garlic to the pan, sautéing until they become soft and translucent.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high and add the ground beef or lamb. Cook until browned and crumbled.
  • Stir in the canned chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, dried oregano, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine all the flavours.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld together. Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 2: Cook the Pasta

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add the penne or macaroni pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente according to the package instructions.
  • Once cooked, drain the pasta and rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

Step 3: Prepare the Béchamel Sauce

  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Add the all-purpose flour to the melted butter and whisk continuously for about 1-2 minutes, creating a smooth paste known as a roux.
  • Gradually pour in the milk while whisking constantly, ensuring no lumps form.
  • Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
  • Stir in the ground nutmeg and grated Parmesan cheese, allowing the cheese to melt and incorporate into the sauce.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
  • Once slightly cooled, gradually whisk in the lightly beaten eggs until the sauce becomes smooth and well combined. Set aside.

Step 4: Assemble the Pastitsio

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a large baking dish with olive oil.
  • Spread half of the cooked pasta evenly over the bottom of the greased baking dish, creating the first layer.
  • Pour the meat sauce on top of the pasta, spreading it out evenly to cover the pasta layer completely.
  • Add the remaining pasta on top of the meat sauce, forming the second layer.
  • Pour the prepared béchamel sauce over the pasta, making sure it covers the entire dish.
  • Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth out the surface of the béchamel sauce.
  • Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese evenly over the top of the dish. If desired, you can also sprinkle breadcrumbs for an added crunchy texture.
  • Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbling.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy

  • Once cooked, remove the Pastitsio from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
  • Cut it into squares or portions and serve warm.
  • Pastitsio pairs well with a fresh salad or some crusty bread.

Equipment For Preparing Pastitsio Rick Stein Recipe

Use this equipment for preparing and cooking the Pastitsio Rick Stein recipe:

Large Skillet or Pan: This is used to cook the meat sauce. A wide and deep skillet or pan with a non-stick or stainless steel surface will work well.

Large Pot: You will need a large pot to cook the pasta. Choose a pot with a capacity large enough to hold the pasta and sufficient water for boiling.

Colander: A colander is necessary to drain the cooked pasta after boiling.

Medium Saucepan: This is used to prepare the béchamel sauce. Choose a medium-sized saucepan with a thick bottom to prevent the sauce from scorching.

Whisk: A whisk is essential for whisking the béchamel sauce, ensuring a smooth and lump-free consistency.

Baking Dish: You will need a large baking dish to assemble and bake the Pastitsio. A rectangular or square baking dish with a capacity of at least 9×13 inches should be suitable.

Spatula or Spoon: A spatula or the back of a spoon will help spread the meat sauce, pasta layers, and béchamel sauce evenly in the baking dish.

Oven: The recipe requires baking the assembled Pastitsio in an oven. Ensure your oven is preheated to the specified temperature before baking.

Knife and Cutting Board: You will need a knife and cutting board for chopping onions and mincing garlic, as well as for portioning and serving the finished dish.

Pastitsio Rick Stein Recipe

Pastitsio is a classic Greek dish consisting of layers of pasta, meat sauce, and creamy béchamel sauce.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Greek
Servings 8 People
Calories 500 kcal


  • 500g ground beef or lamb
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 400g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 75g butter
  • 75g all-purpose flour
  • 750ml milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs (optional)
  • Olive oil for greasing the baking dish


  • Prepare the Meat Sauce
  • Cook the Pasta
  • Assemble the Pastitsio
  • Bake and Serve


Keyword cinnamon, ground beef, Pastitsio Rick Stein, tomato paste

Tips & Tricks for the Perfect Pastitsio Rick Stein Recipe

To prepare the perfect Pastitsio using Rick Stein’s recipe, you have to pay attention to detail, these tips and tricks will help you to prepare the best Pastitsio

Quality Ingredients

Opt for high-quality ingredients, especially when it comes to meat, tomatoes, and cheese. Fresh, ripe tomatoes will enhance the flavour of the meat sauce, while quality meat will result in a rich and savoury filling. Using freshly grated Parmesan cheese will lend a superior taste to the béchamel sauce.

Layering Technique

Take care when layering the components of the dish. Start with a bottom layer of cooked pasta, followed by the meat sauce, then another layer of pasta, and finally the béchamel sauce. This layering technique ensures a balanced distribution of flavours and textures throughout the dish.

Cook the Pasta Al Dente

It is important to cook the pasta until it is al dente, which means it should still have a slight bite to it. Overcooked pasta will become mushy when baked, so ensure you follow the recommended cooking time and test the pasta for doneness before draining.

Flavorful Meat Sauce

Allow the meat sauce to simmer for an adequate amount of time, allowing the flavours to develop and intensify. The spices and herbs, such as oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg, should be added in the right quantities to create a well-balanced and aromatic sauce. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste preferences.

Creamy Béchamel Sauce

Achieving a smooth and creamy béchamel sauce is key to the success of the dish. Take your time when whisking the sauce, ensuring the flour and milk are thoroughly combined.

Cook the sauce over a gentle heat, stirring continuously until it thickens to the right consistency. Incorporating the beaten eggs gradually and whisking vigorously prevents them from scrambling in the hot sauce.

Serve with Accompaniments

Enhance the dining experience by serving the Pastitsio with a fresh salad, such as a Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, and olives. Alternatively, a side of crusty bread or garlic bread can complement the richness of the dish.

What To Take With Pastitsio Rick Stein

Pairing with other dishes can take you to the next level.

1. Greek Salad (Horiatiki)

One of the most iconic Greek accompaniments is the traditional Horiatiki salad, also known as a Greek salad. This vibrant dish consists of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese, all drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of oregano.

The freshness, crunch, and tang of the Greek salad perfectly contrast the savoury and creamy textures of Pastitsio, providing a well-balanced dining experience.

2. Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki, a creamy yoghurt-based sauce infused with cucumber, garlic, dill, and lemon juice, is a classic Greek condiment that complements Pastitsio beautifully.

The refreshing Tzatziki balances the richness of the dish, while the hints of garlic and herbs in the sauce enhance the overall dining experience. A dollop of Tzatziki on your Pastitsio can add an extra layer of flavour and a delightful textural contrast.

3. Roasted Vegetables

To make your Pastitsio meal more wholesome and balanced, consider serving it with a side of roasted vegetables. Roasted cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant not only add colour and variety to your plate but also contribute additional nutrients and textures that pair wonderfully with the pasta and meat layers.

The caramelized and smoky roasted vegetables provide a delightful contrast to the creamy, savoury notes of Pastitsio.

4. Lemon Wedges

A simple and refreshing addition to your Pastitsio dish is a few lemon wedges. Squeezing fresh lemon juice over your serving can cut through the richness of the béchamel sauce and offer a zesty, tangy element that brightens up the flavours of the dish.

The citrusy notes of lemon help balance the indulgent nature of Pastitsio.

5. Dolmades

Dolmades, or stuffed grape leaves, are another fantastic Greek dish that pairs well with Pastitsio.

These bite-sized rolls are filled with seasoned rice and herbs, providing a pleasing textural contrast to the creamy and meaty components of the main dish. The herbaceous and slightly tangy nature of dolmades complements the overall Mediterranean dining experience.

Pastitsio Rick Stein Storage Tips

To ensure the storage of your Pastitsio prepared using Rick Stein’s recipe, follow these tips:

  • Cool Completely: Allow your Pastitsio to cool to room temperature before storing it. This prevents condensation from forming inside the storage container, which could lead to sogginess.
  • Portion It: Divide your Pastitsio into individual servings or family-sized portions before storing. This makes it easier to reheat only what you need and reduces the risk of repeatedly exposing the entire dish to temperature fluctuations.
  • Airtight Container: Place your Pastitsio in an airtight container. This will help maintain its freshness and prevent it from absorbing odours from the fridge or freezer.
  • Refrigeration: If you plan to consume the leftovers within a few days, store your Pastitsio in the refrigerator. It can stay fresh for up to 3-4 days in a tightly sealed container.
  • Freezer-Safe Container: For longer storage, wrap the airtight container in plastic wrap or aluminium foil and place it in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag. Label the container with the date for easy tracking.
  • Labelling: Proper labelling helps you identify the contents and the date of storage. This is particularly important for frozen Pastitsio, as it ensures you use it within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy your stored Pastitsio, reheat it in the oven to maintain its texture and flavour. Place it in a preheated oven at around 350°F (175°C) until it’s heated through and the top is golden brown.

Can I Make a Vegetarian Version of Pastitsio?

Yes, you can make a vegetarian version of Pastitsio without sacrificing flavour or satisfaction. Instead of meat, use alternatives like crumbled tofu, lentils, or sautéed mushrooms seasoned with herbs and spices to mimic the savoury meaty essence.

A rich tomato sauce can replace the meat sauce, while a plant-based bechamel made with dairy-free ingredients and vegan cheese or nutritional yeast provides the creamy layer. Incorporate Greek seasonings like oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and use your favourite pasta, like penne or ziti, for the base to create a vegetarian Pastitsio that captures the essence of this classic Greek dish.

Can I Add Vegetables to the Meat Sauce?

Yes, vegetables can be added to meat sauce, enhancing its nutritional value, flavour, and texture. Common choices include onions, garlic, bell peppers, carrots, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, and eggplant. These vegetables offer a range of tastes, from sweetness to earthiness, and can be finely diced, grated, or chopped to suit your preference.

When incorporating vegetables, consider their cooking times and textures to ensure they blend well with the meat sauce. Some, like onions and garlic, are typically sautéed with the meat for added flavour, while others, such as carrots and celery, can provide natural sweetness and crunch.

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