Wednesday, December 5, 2012


     Every time I make pastitso I think of Yannis' mother.  When she came to visit us years ago in Chicago, I would come home after work to a kitchen full of  wonderful Greek food!  I remember one day as I was praising her for the tasty pastitso I was eating, she apologized for how horrible it was. She explained to me she had been in a bad mood when she had prepared it, and how important it was to cook with "kefie"--to be upbeat and loving in the kitchen.   That sweet woman left me with three major Greek cookbook completely transcribed to her standards, several extra kilos, and  the admonition to always cook with kefie!!   So, my advice to you is, make pastitso with lots of kefie because it's a bit of a commitment...of time, ingredients, and work....but sooo worth it!!


2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 Tables. olive oil
2 Tables. parsley
1/4 teas. cinnamon
1 can tomato sauce or 1 large jar of prepared spagetti sauce (your favorite brand)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup butter
salt and pepper
1 pound macaroni
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups grated hard cheese (kefalotiri, romano, parmesan or a mixture)
4 cups bechamel sauce (recipe below) 

In 2 Tbls. olive oil, brown the onion; add the ground beef and parsley, and crumble the meat with a  fork; sauteeing till the beef is golden brown. Add cinnamon, salt and pepper, wine and tomato sauce and simmer for 30 minutes.; remove from the fire.

Meanwhile boil the macaroni in salted water according to directions on the package;drain and place in a big bowl; add 1/2 cup butter, beaten eggs and a generous sprinkling of grated heese; mix well. Spread half of the macaroni mixture on the bottom of a greased 9x13 inch baking pan, cover evenly with the meat sauce; sprinkle with grated cheese; spread remaining macaroni over meat; sprinkle with grated cheese, cover with bechamel sauce, sprinkle with grated cheese, dot with butter and sprinkle a tiny bit of nutmeg over the sauce. Bake for 1 hour at 350F./180 C.;Cool and cut into 3 inch squares. Makes 12 servings. 

Make a Greek salad,  crack a bottle of your favorite wine and  enjoy with lots of kefie!!

Bechamel Sauce  

1/2 cup butter
6 T. flour
4 cups hot milk

Melt butter in a pan; add flour and stir till smooth;gradually add the hot milk,stirring constantly till it thickens.  add: 2 cups chicken stock, 2 cups grated cheese and 3/4 cup butter to the bechamel sauce.


  1. I want to make this right now! My favorite dish at Greek Weddings, one in particular ;)