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Pastitsio homemade.jpg
Place of originGreece
Region or stateSouthern Europe
Created byOttoman cuisine[1]
Main ingredientsground beef, béchamel sauce

Pastitsio (Greek: παστίτσιο, pastítsio) is a Greek baked pasta dish with ground meat and béchamel sauce, with variations of the dish found in other countries of the Mediterranean Sea.

Name and origin[edit]


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,[2] and continuing to modern times. Italian versions include a pastry crust; some include béchamel.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

The word pasticcio is attested by the 16th century as "any manner of pastie or pye"[10] and comes from the vulgar Latin word pastīcium[11] derived from pasta, and means "pie", and has developed the figurative meanings of "a mess", "a tough situation", or a pastiche.[12]

In Cyprus and Turkey, it is called "oven macaroni" (Greek: μακαρόνια του φούρνου, makarónia tou foúrnou, Turkish: fırında makarna).[13][14][15][16]

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

In the Albanian-speaking regions of the Balkans, the dish is called Pastice, deriving from Pasticcio. It is, however, often meatless and made with an egg and cheese mixture instead of béchamel.


Greek pastitsio

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".[17]

The Tselementes version—which is now ubiquitous[17]—has a bottom layer that is bucatini or other tubular pasta, with cheese 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.[13][18]

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.[19]


The Egyptian version is called مَكَرونَة بَشَّمَل 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 (cheddar and mozzarella)[dubious ] may also be baked on top. The dish was introduced to Egypt by Greek and Italian immigrants in the 19th century.[20]


In Turkey, it is called Fırında makarna(Fırın makaronyası)[21] (Turkish: Fırında makarna) is a Ottoman baked pasta dish with egg, peynir, flour and Tomato. In the Ottoman printed cookbook, Yeni Usûl Yemek Kitabı, there is a recipe as Fırın makaronyası.[1]


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 or sheep's brains are sometimes added. The macaroni is then enclosed in a pastry case or lid before being baked.[22][23] A similar dish without the pastry casing is imqarrun.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Çapacı, Kazım. "Yeni Usûl Yemek Kitabı". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ Bartolomeo Scappi, Opera, 1570, passim: 43 recipes
  3. ^ Accademia Italiana della Cucina, La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy, pp. 310–313
  4. ^ Pellegrino Artusi, La scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangiar bene, 1983 reprint, first edition 1891: 10 recipes
  5. ^ Vincenzo Buonassisi, Piccolo Codice della Pasta, Rizzoli 1973: 11 recipes
  6. ^ Vincenzo Buonassisi, Il Nuovo Codice della Pasta, Rizzoli 1985 ISBN 8817110388: 41 recipes
  7. ^ Touring Club Italiano, Guida all'Italia Gastronomica, 1931: 2 recipes; 1984 edition: 3 recipes
  8. ^ Luigi Carnacina, Luigi Veronelli, La cucina rustica regionale = La buona vera cucina italiana, Rizzoli, 1966: 3 recipes
  9. ^ Στοΐλη, Μελίσσα (September 25, 2012). "Το αυθεντικό παστίτσιο". Το Βήμα (To Vima) (in Greek). Athens. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  10. ^ John Florio, A Worlde of Wordes: Or Most copious and exact Dictionarie in Italian and English, London, 1598 p. 261
  11. ^ "Pasticcio". Vocabolario della lingua italiana. Treccani. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  12. ^ Oxford Paravia Italian Dictionary, 2001, ISBN 0-19-860437-8
  13. ^ a b "Μακαρόνια του φούρνου". (in Greek). Cyprus Food Virtual Museum. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  14. ^ "Chef´s Choice – Cypriot Recipes – Baked Macaroni (Pastitsio / Fırında Makarna)". February 2015. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  15. ^ "Traditional Dishes of Cyprus" (PDF). Cyprus Ministry of Agriculture Natural Resources and Environment. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  16. ^ "KIBRIS USULÜ FIRINDA MAKARNA" (in Turkish). Kıbrıs Ortam. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  17. ^ a b Aglaia Kremezi, "Nikolas Tselementes", Cooks and Other People, Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, p. 168
  18. ^ Greek Mediterranean Cuisine
  19. ^ "Bol Peynirli Fırın Makarna" (in Turkish). Mynet Yemek. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  20. ^ McWilliams, Mark (7 May 2016). Food and Communication: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2015. Oxford Symposium. ISBN 9781909248496 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ Kut, A. Turgut (1985). Açıklamalı yemek kitapları bibliyografyası: eski harfli yazma ve basma eserler (in Turkish). Kültür ve Turizm Bakanlığı.
  22. ^ Sheehan, Sean (2000). Malta. Marshall Cavendish. p. 120. ISBN 9780761409939 – via Google Books.
  23. ^ "Maltese Timpana". SBS Food. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 2019-10-29.