Casserole 2.0: Greek Pastitsio with Yogurt Béchamel

Think casseroles are passé? This cozy Greek-inspired take will have you thinking again (and going for seconds). Layers of ground meat, grated cheese, tomatoes, cinnamon, and creamy sauce are baked until golden, making a perfectly satisfying comfort food for any cold winter night.

ounces mixed lettuces
½ pint grape tomatoes
⅛ ounce parsley, divided
yellow onion
cloves garlic
12 ounces ground beef
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
ounces ziti pasta
2/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
½ ounce grated Parmesan cheese, divided
aluminum tin

You’ll need
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
10″ large pot
10″ medium pan
baking sheet

Recipe tips
Need a tip for mincing garlic? Head to Chop Shop for a how-to video straight from our Test Kitchen.


Prepare ingredients :

Preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse all produce. Pat mixed lettuces dry with paper towel. Halve grape tomatoes. Roughly chop parsley leaves, discarding stems. Halve lemon. Peel onion, halve, and cut into small dice. Mince garlic (see recipe tip). Reshape aluminum tin if bent, then coat with ½ teaspoon olive oil and set aside.

Make meat sauce:

Pat beef dry with paper towel. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add onion and cook until softened, 3–4 minutes. Add spice mix and garlic. Stir to combine, 1 minute. Add beef and season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up, until browned, 5 minutes. Add crushedtomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, 5–7 minutes. Stir in half of parsley.

Cook ziti and make béchamel:

Season boiling water generously with salt, then add ziti. Cook until al dente, 7 minutes (see recipe tip). Drain and return to pot, off heat. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together yogurthalf ofParmesan1 egg¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired to make yogurtbéchamel. Stir in remaining parsley.

Assemble and bake pastitsio:

Transfer half of cooked ziti to tin. Layer over meat sauce, then remaining ziti, then yogurt béchamel. Finish with remaining Parmesan. Place tin on a baking sheet. Bake until béchamel and cheese are browning, 15–20 minutes. Meanwhile, wash bowl from béchamel for the next step.

Make dressing:

In bowl from béchamel, combine juice of 1 lemon1½ tablespoons olive oil¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Set aside.

Toss salad and plate pastitsio:

Once cooked, allow pastitsio to cool slightly before serving, 5 minutes. Add mixed lettuces and grape tomatoes to bowl with dressing and toss to coat. Divide Greek pastitsio between serving plates and serve with salad. Enjoy!


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