The Greek Pastitsio is a baked pasta dish with ground/minced meat and béchamel sauce. It looks like macaroni pie. If you’re like me and don’t like ground/minced meat much, unless it’s burger or meatballs you’ll love this recipe.

The Greek Pastitsio is a baked pasta dish with ground/minced meat and béchamel sauce. It looks like macaroni pie. If you’re like me and don’t like ground/minced meat much, unless it’s burger or meatballs you’ll love this recipe.

Yes, I know, I’m one of the few Greek people who doesn’t love the classic Greek pasticcio with ground/minced meat. Even before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, when I made pastitsio for the family, I would just keep pasta and eat it with  feta cheese and fresh tomato, which is why is one of my first recipes that I post was Greek Horiatiki style Gluten Free Pasta” (see the recipe here) .

But I love this pasta with the velvety béchamel and the light spinach filling. This béchamel is the easiest version to make and it was taught to me by my aunt who is an excellent cook. Of course the roux method, where you cook the flour with the butter, is the right one and gives a different flavor to the béchamel, but when you are in a hurry to make the food and go to work, you usually don’t have patience and you don’t have the time in case of messes up, to fix it or start over. Also since many of you are in the beginning of experiment to cook, let’s make it the easiest way to make cooking time enjoyable and not a compulsive task.

Because the recipe is quite complicated, like any Pastitsio, I usually double or triple the amount of spinach with leek, spring onion and dill. I keep what I will use and freeze the rest for another day. I also do the spinach filling a day before to reduce the time spending in the kitchen that day. It’s my go-to recipe spinach filling for both Quick & Easy Gluten Free Spinach Pie with Tortillas” (see recipe here) and Gluten free Spanakopita – Spinach Pie with homemade phyllo” (see recipe here)


Yields4 ServingsDifficultyIntermediate

Prep Time30 minsCook Time40 minsTotal Time1 hr 10 mins

Tip: Check off the ingredients you have used in the recipe or note the ingredients you have and add the rest to you shopping list to buy them. - Attention: All ingredients  must be checked that are Gluten-Free and without traces of gluten.

 250 g bucatini or ziti or penne gluten free pasta
For the spaghetti sauce, instead of butter
 2 tbsp cream cheese
 2 tbsp milk
 2 tbsp olive oil
For the spinach filling
 500 fresh spinach
 1 spring onion, finely chopped
 1 sprig of leek, chopped
 4 tbsp olive oil
 1 tbsp dill, finely chopped
 ½ tsp salt
 ¼ tsp pepper
 3 tsp breadcrumbs
 100 g feta cheese
For the béchamel sauce
 2 cups milk
 3 tbsp gluten-free corn starch/corn flour
 1 tsp baking powder
 2 tbsp butter
 ¼ tsp salt
 1 pinch nutmeg (optional)
 1 pinch pepper (optional)
For assembling
 4 tbsp grated cheese of your choice, gouda or gruyere or parmesan or kefalotyri or cheddar or whatever cheese you have in your fridge
 1 tbsp butter or olive oil for the pan

Abbreviations: g=grams kg= kilograms cup=250 ml tsp= teaspoon=5 ml  tbsp= tablespoon=3 tsp=15 ml ml= millilitre= (1ml=0.034 fl oz / 1fl oz=29.6 ml) l=litre/liter=1000ml

for spinach filling
1

Lightly sauté the spring onion and the leek with the olive oil.

2

Then add the spinach and let it boil for 2-3 min.

3

Season the mixture with salt and pepper and add the dill at the end.

4

Remove it from the heat and add the feta cheese crumbled by hand and the breadcrumbs. Mix it and leave it aside

5

Boil the pasta in plenty of water with saltt according to the instructions on the package or for the Greek standards more.

for the spaghetti sauce, instead of butter
6

While the pasta is boiling, prepare the sauce to pour over them instead of the classic one with butter. Mix together the cream cheese, milk and oil.

7

Drain the pasta when it is ready and put it back in the pot. Pour the sauce over them and mix well.

for assembling
8

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

9

Butter an ovenproof dish at a size about 25cmX35cm / 10”X14” inches.

10

Place half of the pasta. Spread them as much as you can, so that they cover the entire bottom evenly.

11

Spread the spinach filling evenly on top.

12

Place all the remaining pasta on top.

for the béchamel sauce
13

In the pot where the pasta was boiled (for reduce the washing after), put all the ingredients for the béchamel, at the same time and cold, just as you take them from your refrigerator.

14

Place the pot on a medium to high heat and stir constantly with a whisk until it thickens and becomes a creamy.

15

Spread the béchamel cream over pasta at the pan and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

16

4. Bake at 180°C/350°F for about 40 minutesuntil golden brown.

Ingredients

 250 g bucatini or ziti or penne gluten free pasta
For the spaghetti sauce, instead of butter
 2 tbsp cream cheese
 2 tbsp milk
 2 tbsp olive oil
For the spinach filling
 500 fresh spinach
 1 spring onion, finely chopped
 1 sprig of leek, chopped
 4 tbsp olive oil
 1 tbsp dill, finely chopped
 ½ tsp salt
 ¼ tsp pepper
 3 tsp breadcrumbs
 100 g feta cheese
For the béchamel sauce
 2 cups milk
 3 tbsp gluten-free corn starch/corn flour
 1 tsp baking powder
 2 tbsp butter
 ¼ tsp salt
 1 pinch nutmeg (optional)
 1 pinch pepper (optional)
For assembling
 4 tbsp grated cheese of your choice, gouda or gruyere or parmesan or kefalotyri or cheddar or whatever cheese you have in your fridge
 1 tbsp butter or olive oil for the pan

Directions

for spinach filling
1

Lightly sauté the spring onion and the leek with the olive oil.

2

Then add the spinach and let it boil for 2-3 min.

3

Season the mixture with salt and pepper and add the dill at the end.

4

Remove it from the heat and add the feta cheese crumbled by hand and the breadcrumbs. Mix it and leave it aside

5

Boil the pasta in plenty of water with saltt according to the instructions on the package or for the Greek standards more.

for the spaghetti sauce, instead of butter
6

While the pasta is boiling, prepare the sauce to pour over them instead of the classic one with butter. Mix together the cream cheese, milk and oil.

7

Drain the pasta when it is ready and put it back in the pot. Pour the sauce over them and mix well.

for assembling
8

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

9

Butter an ovenproof dish at a size about 25cmX35cm / 10”X14” inches.

10

Place half of the pasta. Spread them as much as you can, so that they cover the entire bottom evenly.

11

Spread the spinach filling evenly on top.

12

Place all the remaining pasta on top.

for the béchamel sauce
13

In the pot where the pasta was boiled (for reduce the washing after), put all the ingredients for the béchamel, at the same time and cold, just as you take them from your refrigerator.

14

Place the pot on a medium to high heat and stir constantly with a whisk until it thickens and becomes a creamy.

15

Spread the béchamel cream over pasta at the pan and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

16

4. Bake at 180°C/350°F for about 40 minutesuntil golden brown.

Gluten Free Pastitsio (macaroni pie) with Spinach & Feta Cheese
  • Along with the spinach, you can also add chard or other vegetables with green leaves.
  • For greater convenience or if fresh spinach is out of season, use frozen. Of course, fresh spinach has another sweetness, which even if you freeze it after sauteing it with the leek and spring onion, it retains its flavor.
  • The key material for my béchamel to come out fluffy and light is the baking powder I put and I usually make it with corn starch/corn flour, but you can also make it with any other flour.
  • I always make the béchamel in the same pot that I boiled the pasta because I don’t want to end up with a lot of dishes to wash.
  • For nicer presentation and easier to cut it without fall apart, it is better to leave it on the kitchen counter for at least 1 hour, to cool.

Good Luck and Bon Appétit!!!

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