Tony Shalhoub – Pastitsio

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Preheat oven 350

Grease 9×13 casserole


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 lb. ground meat (beef, lamb or combination)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 2 tsp  kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. pasta (tubes like penne or macaroni) cooked al dente
  • 4 tbs butter
  • ¾ C. grated parmesan or Romano cheese


Béchamel topping:

  • 1 ½ C. whole milk
  • 1 C. heavy cream
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter
  • 4 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ¾ C. grated parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten



Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium high heat.

Add onions and red pepper flakes. Sauté until onions soften.

Add garlic and cook 1 minute.

Add ground meat to pan and brown until all red color is gone.

Stir in cinnamon, oregano and thyme. Cook for several minutes so meat can absorb flavor from herbs and spices.

Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes.

While sauce simmers prepare pasta according to directions on box-al dente. Drain and toss with 4 tbs unsalted butter. Set aside.


Béchamel topping:

Place milk and cream in a small saucepan and heat until it’s just ready to simmer.

While milk is heating, melt 4 tbs butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

When butter melts slowly whisk flour into butter. It will quickly thicken. Continue to whisk and cook for at least 2 minutes. This will cook the flour.

While whisking, pour milk and cream mixture into the butter flour mixture. Continue whisking and cook about 6 minutes.

Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper and nutmeg.

Remove from heat and whisk in ¾ C. parmesan or Romano cheese.

When mixture cools slightly 10-15 minutes, whisk in 2 lightly beaten eggs.

Now it’s time to assemble dish.

Place half of the pasta in the casserole dish. Sprinkle ¼ C. of the grated cheese over pasta. Pour all of meat sauce over pasta. Cover meat sauce with remaining pasta. Sprinkle with a little grated cheese and top the whole dish with all of the béchamel sauce. Sprinkle top with about ½ C. grated cheese.  Bake uncovered 350 for 1 hour. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.


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