Traditional recipes

Pasticcio di pasta recipe

Pasticcio di pasta recipe

  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Beef
  • Beef pasta

This dish, which means 'mess of pasta', is without a doubt my daughter's favourite pasta dish and she doesn't care for meat.

4 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 450g short pasta, such as penne, fusilli or rigatoni
  • Bolognese sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Bechamel sauce
  • 100g butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1L milk
  • grated cheese, such as Parmesan or Pecorino Romano

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:50min ›Ready in:1hr5min

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C / Gas 4.
  2. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until tender with a bite at the centre; drain. Heat the Bolognese sauce in a saucepan. Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the Bechamel sauce: In a saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Pour the milk in a little at a time, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat.
  4. Take a baking dish and make one layer with the pasta mixture and then a layer of Bechamel sauce. Make another layer of the pasta mixture and one of the Bechamel. Make the last layer of grated cheese.
  5. Bake the pasticcio in the oven until the cheese is golden and crunchy, about 30 minutes.


You can use any type of melting cheese like mozzarella, fontina, etc. I usually use whatever cheese I happen to have in the house.

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Pastitsio takes its name from the Italian pasticcio, a large family of baked savory pies which may be based on meat, fish, or pasta, with many documented recipes from the early 16th century, [1] and continuing to modern times. Italian versions include a pastry crust some include béchamel. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

The word pasticcio is attested by the 16th century as "any manner of pastie or pye" [9] and comes from the vulgar Latin word pastīcium [10] derived from pasta, and means "pie", and has developed the figurative meanings of "a mess", "a tough situation", or a pastiche. [11]

In Cyprus and Turkey, it is called "oven macaroni" (Greek: μακαρόνια του φούρνου, makarónia tou foúrnou, Turkish: fırında makarna). [12] [13] [14] [15]

In Egypt, it is called macarona béchamel (Egyptian Arabic: مكرونة بشاميل ‎ [mɑkɑˈɾoːnɑ bæʃæˈmel, -be-] ).

The most recent and most popular contemporary variant of pastitsio was invented by Nikolaos Tselementes, a French-trained Greek chef of the early 20th century. Before him, pastitsio had a filling of pasta, liver, meat, eggs, and cheese, did not include béchamel, and was wrapped in filo, similar to the most Italian pasticcio recipes, which were wrapped in pastry: "he completely changed the dish and made it a kind of au gratin". [16]

The Tselementes version—which is now ubiquitous [16] —has a bottom layer that is bucatini or other tubular pasta, with cheese and/or egg as a binder a middle layer of ground beef, or a mix of ground beef and ground pork with tomato sauce, cinnamon and cloves. Other spices like nutmeg or allspice are used in the top layer that is a béchamel or a mornay sauce. Grated goat cheese is often sprinkled on top. Pastitsio is a common dish, and is often served as a main course, with a salad. [ citation needed ]

In Cyprus, it is an essential dish during weddings and celebrations such as Easter, where it is served along with spit roasted meat. Recipes vary, but usually the meat sauce in the middle is made of pork, beef or lamb, tomatoes are only sometimes used, and it is flavoured with mint, parsley or cinnamon. The top is sprinkled with grated halloumi or anari cheese, though cheese is sometimes added only to the white sauce. [12] [17]

A Turkish Cypriot version of this recipe (Turkish: bol peynirli makarna fırında) substitutes two types of cheese, kaşar peyniri and beyaz peyniri, for the meat. [18]

The Egyptian version is called مكارونا بيشاميل makarōna beshamel in Egyptian Arabic, i.e. "macaroni with béchamel". The dish is typically made with penne or macaroni pasta, a minced-meat sauce with tomato and onion, and a white sauce often enriched with Rumi cheese. Egg or cheese may also be baked on top. The dish was introduced to Egypt by Greek and Italian 19th century immigrants. [19]

In Malta, timpana (the name probably derived from timballo) is made by tossing parboiled macaroni in a tomato sauce containing a small amount of minced beef or corned beef, bound with a mixture of raw egg and grated cheese. Hard-boiled eggs and/ or sheep's brains are sometimes added. The macaroni is then enclosed in a pastry case or lid before being baked. [20] [21] A similar dish without the pastry casing is imqarrun.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Ground white pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat do not let the butter brown. Whisk in the flour and cook it until a uniform paste is formed and no streaks of flour remain. Slowly whisk in the milk in a steady stream. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring slowly until the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to assemble filling.

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INGREDIENTS (serves 4-6)


  • 450g flour
  • 180/200g butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • grated lemon peel
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 100g sugar


  • 150g minced lean beef
  • 50g minced lean veal
  • 150g minced chicken breast
  • ½ glass of dry white wine
  • 150 gr. di rigaglie di pollo
  • a few spoons of marsala wine
  • 1 celery stick finely chopped
  • poco olio di oliva
  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • salt.
  • 1 carrot finely chopped


Finally: 25g dried mushrooms, 50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 250g macaroni (maccheroncini rigati), truffle


Prepare the crust pastry and stretch the dough into two disks (30cm diametre, 2cm thick).

For the meat sauce, heat the oil in a large pot and then add the celery, the carrot and the onion finely chopped. Cook over a medium heat for 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until browned. Add meat, salt, pepper and the mushrooms (previously soaked in warm water, strained and chopped). Add the white wine and the marsala, and bring to a simmer until reduced. Add water until covering the food and let stew for almost 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the white sauce with the listed ingredients, flavouring it at the end with a pinch of grated nutmeg. Cook the pasta al dente, strain it, add the meat sauce and the white sauce, along with the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and truffle flakes.

Let the pasta with the sauces cool and distribute the compound over one disk of crust pastry, shaping it with your hands until you obtain a sort of bowl. Cover it with the second disk of crust pastry, seal the edges of the two disks and cut out the exceeding pastry.

Paint the pie with the beaten egg yolk and bake for 25 minutes in preheated oven to 175°.


Besides the Greek Pastitsio, the Mediterranean basin cuisines are rich in recipes inspired by the Pasticcio di Maccheroni.

For Instance, in Cyprus, we find a special recipe traditionally prepared for the Easter festivity or for the wedding gatherings, called makarónia tou foúrnou in Greek and fırında makarna in Turkish. The pasta is baked along with a white pork sauce flavored with parsley, cinnamon, and Halloumi or Anari cheese crumbles.

The Egyptian version is made whit Penne pasta, spicy meat, onions, and béchamel.

Finally, in Malta a dish named Timpana (a word that likely derives from the Italian Timballo) is very similar to the Pastitsio Venetsianiko: Maccheroni, red veal sauce, eggs, and cheese are wrapped into pie crust, then baked.

In a bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and zest. Using a fork or pastry blender, work in the butter unit the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and water. Add the yolks to the flour mixture and mix with your hands until a soft dough is formed. If the dough seems dry, add a little water. Gather the dough into a ball. Divide it in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the penne and cook until just al dente the pasta should remain slightly undercooked. Add the peas to the boiling water during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain well and place in a large bowl. Add the cheese and butter and toss well. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the chicken and chicken broth. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Butter a 10 by 3-inch springform pan. On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece of dough into a 16-inch round. Fit the dough into the pan, letting the excess hang over the sides.

Place one third of the pasta mixture in the pastry shell and sprinkle with salt. Spread half of the chicken and broth mixture over the pasta. Repeat with another layer of pasta and another layer of chicken. Spread the remaining pasta over the chicken and sprinkle with salt.

On a floured surface, roll out the remaining dough to a 12-inch round. Place the dough over the filling. Trim off the excess dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang and pinch the edges together to seal. If you wish, reroll the scraps and cut out shapes to make a decorative design on top of the pie. Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes for easier cutting. Release the spring on the side of the pan and transfer the pasticcio to a serving plate. With a sharp knife, cut into wedges and serve.

This recipe is from CELEBRATIONS ITALIAN STYLE by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company, in 1995.

The Recipe: Timballo di Maccheroni


For the filling
14 oz tomato purée
3/4 lb lean pork
3/4 lb lean beef
12 oz maccheroni
7 oz aged provola, diced
3 oz pancetta
1 large egg
4 large eggs, hard-boiled
1 onion
Tomato paste
Red wine
Fresh rosemary
Fresh thyme
Extra-virgin olive oil
Peanut oil

For the crust
21/2 cups flour
5 oz. butter
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks

For the filling
Mince the pancetta and onion separately, then brown for 5 minutes in a saucepan with 3 tbsp oil, 1 rosemary sprig, and a few thyme leaves.
Add the 2 pieces of whole meat and brown on both sides over a high flame for 5-6 minutes. Add 1/2 cup red wine, let simmer for a few minutes, then add the tomato purée and 2 tbsp tomato paste and cover. Cook for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Then remove the lid and continue cooking for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let cool. Setting aside the tomato sauce, remove the meat, cut it into pieces and grind together with 1 egg and 1 tbsp minced parsley, adding salt and pepper to taste. Shape into walnut-sized balls and pour enough peanut oil into a pan to cover while frying.
Roll them in the flour and fry for 1 minute. Drain on paper towels. Boil the maccheroni, draining it 3-4 minutes prior to the time indicated on the package, then cover with the tomato sauce.

For the crust:
Combine the butter, flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt into a sandy mixture. Mix it with 2 egg yolks and 2 tbsp water. Shape it into a smooth ball, cover, and let rest for 1 hour.

For the timballo:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the hard-boiled eggs into wedges. Roll the dough out until paper-thin and use it to line a greased 8” hinged mold. In the mold, layer maccheroni, hard-boiled eggs, meatballs, and provola, and top with another layer of maccheroni. Fold over the edges of the dough and gently press down to even its surface. Bake for around 1 hour.

Let the timbale cool slightly in its mold, then turn upside-down onto a platter and serve.

Recipe by Joelle Néderlants
Article originally published on La Cucina Italiana print magazine #2

List of Ingredients

  • 1 LB. of long ziti
  • 14 OZ. of mozzarella di bufala
  • 10 1/2 OZ. of fresh anchovy fillets
  • 1 CUP of milk
  • 3 of zucchini
  • basil
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper


Cook ziti in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite (around 7-8 minutes). Drain pasta. Spread them out on a tray to cool and top with a drizzle of oil.

Cut the ends off the zucchini grate the zucchini on the large holes of a grater. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté the zucchini for 2-3 minutes and season with salt.

Blend the mozzarella with the milk and a pinch of salt and pepper to a creamy consistency.

Rinse the anchovy fillets. Arrange a layer of ziti in a baking dish large enough to hold them lying flat cover with 1/3 of the mozzarella cream, then 1/3 of the sautéed zucchini, a few basil leaves and 1/3 of the anchovies. Repeat creating two more layers. Brush with oil to finish. Bake for around 15 minutes. Serve piping hot.

Recipe Summary

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 4 egg yolks, divided
  • 1 quart milk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar for dusting

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and 1 cup of sugar. Cut in margarine by pinching between your fingers, or using a pastry blender, until the mixture has lumps no larger than small peas. Make a well in the center, and pour in the eggs, 1/2 cup milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Stir until the mixture comes together, then knead for about 5 turns on a lightly floured surface.

Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Grease two 12 cup muffin tins or tart pans. Cut out 20 circles using a 3 inch cookie cutter or drinking glass. Line the muffin cups with the dough. Set aside the remaining dough to cut out tops for the cups.

In the top of a double boiler, or in a metal bowl set atop a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the cornstarch and 3/4 cup sugar. Gradually whisk in 3 of the egg yolks, and 1quart milk. Heat, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbling. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until the butter is melted.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Fill the pastry shells half way with the vanilla cream. Roll out remaining dough, and cut into circles for lids. Place over the top of the pastry shells, and seal the edges by pressing with the tines of a fork. Whisk the remaining egg yolk with a fork, and brush the tops of the pastry cups.

Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Let cool in the tins before carefully loosening the edges to remove. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

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