Gluten-free Pastitsio (Greek-Style Baked Pasta / Lasagna)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9-12 servings
Meat Layer:
  • 1½ lb grass-fed ground beef and/or lamb
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • 1 cup grated onion
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Pasta Layer:
  • 1 lb gluten-free brown rice penne pasta (or other gluten-free pasta of your choice)
  • 4 pasture-raised eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups grated Romano cheese (I choose a high-quality raw sheep's milk Pecorino)
Béchamel Sauce Layer:
  • ½ cup grass-fed butter (8 tablespoons or 1 stick)
  • ½ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk (I use goat milk)
  • 5 pasture-raised eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup grated Romano cheese (I choose a high-quality raw sheep's milk Pecorino)
  1. Make the Meat Layer: Add the butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter, then add the onion. Sauté until soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add the ground beef and/or lamb, stirring and cooking until browned. About 6-8 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, cinnamon, tomato paste and water. Simmer uncovered, until the water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Cool. Stir in parsley and set aside.
  2. Make the Pasta Layer. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to directions on package. I usually cook for less time than the package says, by several minutes. You don't want to overcook the pasta. Rinse and drain the pasta well. Toss with the beaten eggs and grated cheese. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375ºF and lightly grease a rectangular baking dish (I use an 8x12 sized pan, 9 x 13 or similarly-sized will also work) with butter or olive oil. Set aside.
  4. Make the Béchamel Layer: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking all the while until smooth. Gradually add the cold milk, stirring the entire time. Continue to whisk the mixture as you cook it over medium heat. Continue to cook for about 8-10 minutes until the mixture is thick coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly (at least 5 minutes). Add the beaten eggs and blend into the cooled sauce. Finally, stir in the cheese.
  5. Assemble the Pastitsio: Layer half of the pasta in the prepared pan, followed by all of the meat mixture, then top with the other half of the pasta. Do not pack it down. Pour the béchamel over the casserole. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
  6. Cool the casserole before cutting into squares to serve.
Variations: Add ¼ cup of red wine to the meat layer as it's cooking, for a little extra flavor.
Experiment with adding a pinch or two of nutmeg, along with the cinnamon.
Recipe by Tasty Yummies at