Hands-on Time
50 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 20 Mins
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Inspired by the classic Greek comfort dish known as pastitsio, this pasta casserole uses fresh and flavorful ingredients.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta in a Dutch oven according to package directions.

Step 2

Meanwhile, sauté onion in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add beef; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until crumbled and no longer pink. Drain mixture, and return to skillet.

Step 3

Stir tomato sauce, next 4 ingredients, and 1 tsp. salt into meat mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 4

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir in Parmesan cheese, pepper, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Add sauce to pasta, stirring to coat.

Step 5

Transfer pasta mixture to a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with beef mixture, mozzarella cheese, and breadcrumbs.

Step 6

Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Step 7

MAKE IT AHEAD Fix and freeze this dish (unbaked) for a hands-off dinner. Let it stand 30 minutes before baking, and add 15 to 20 minutes in the oven.

Ratings & Reviews

Great Pastitsio Surrogate

October 01, 2015
I am a great fan of Greek food and this is a wonderfully easy dish with Greek roots.  I adjusted the quantity to 2/3 to use only one pound of lean ground beef. Serve it with a village style of cucumbers, tomatoes, onion and feta and you can offer a delicious near-Greek meal that is sure to please. Company worthy but easy enough to do on a weeknight.

January 31, 2016
Also: my noodles were a bit overcooked (very soft, but still good). I would suggest cooking the Ziti to "al dente" doneness according to the box. 

January 31, 2016
Mine wasn't getting thick and bubbly either after 5-7 mins. About 15 mins later, however, it did eventually thicken up well! Of course, it may be a better choice to simply increase the flour to save some time. Thanks for sharing! 

Just Great (not simple, but still really great!!)

October 04, 2015
We just made this and it is incredible. Anything I altered was only cause I didn't have exactly what it called for: I toasted bread and put it in the blender for bread crumbs, I only had 1can of tomato sauce and 1 15 oz, jar of Caccitore sauce. So, I tossed it in. Amazingly, I had everything else and it is great. Not all that easy for a regular guy like me. But it was a Saturday night and I knew my wife was wanting something good to eat but we didn't want to go out to eat. Thank you for posting this. It was wonderful to us. 

Must Try

November 12, 2015
This is simply amazing. At first, I thought it was going to be a little too cinnamony, but it turned out well with the pasta mixture. I haven't had a dish this delicious in a while. Will definitely be making again.

Best baked ziti!

November 24, 2015
I just made this and wow, delicious! I made it exactly as listed with the exception of adding just a tad more flour as mine was not getting thick and bubbly. But this is by far the best baked ziti I've had. My experience with baked ziti is that it tends to be a dry dish. This, however, was very creamy and packed with flavor! This is def a keeper! Thank you for sharing!

One out of two hits here

January 08, 2018
Made one-half the recipe because it's just the two of us; I loved it (and overate) and husband did not. He said the oregano was too strong but I suspect it may have been the cinnamon he was finding fault with (since I know he's not fond of cinnamon - except cinnamon rolls - I didn't come clean and let him think it was the oregano). Oh well, more for me tomorrow! I didn't have ziti so used dry gnocchi instead and used Panko bread crumbs rather than regular. When I first read the recipe (from another site perhaps) it said have dinner on the table in 30 minutes. Ha! Hands-on time was a good 45 minutes before I even got it into the over. With the 10 minute stand time, you better allow an hour and 20-30 minutes. But it was worth it! Next time I'll make a second pan to put in the freezer.


January 11, 2018
This recipe is very similar to my Greek mother-in-law's! My Greek husband confirms it! Kids loved it, I loved it and still definitely be one of my monthly meals in my house!

Greek baked Ziti

October 11, 2015
When do you add the pasta?Looks absolutely yummy..surely going surprise my Greek boyfriend


January 04, 2016
I did not have some of the ingredients but it came out delicious. I can't wait to make it exactly as the recipe says. It's a keeper!