Think of lasagne  . . Now think how it can be much better with more pasta, tastier flavours and it being able to be carved into deep slabs. Now this is Cypriot Pastichio!  Like I said this is similarly formed in layers of mincemeat and bucatini pasta with a top layer of béchamel.

Above: Bucatini pasta can only be made using extrusion, brought to Cyprus by the Venetians.    Good quality bucatini is available from most delicatessen or click the image to find some online.

Pastichio for Cypriots is referred to as “Makaronia tou fournou” (Μακαρόνια το φούρνου) which roughly translates to pasta bake / pasta of the oven. This dish is synonymous with big fat greek family gatherings and celebrations as its easy to prepare in large batches and is always a crowd pleaser not only for presentation but because its delicious! (My husbands favourite request from my Mum and Yiayia).

There are slight variations with the Cypriot version and the greek version of this dish however the generally are made the same. In Cyprus pork mince is used instead of beef however if its a special occasion lamb may be used. The mincemeat is also seasoned with mint and the cheese used in the béchamel sauce can be made with dried anari (mild Cypriot chese) rather than keflotyri from Greece. 

The dish does take a fair bit of preparation but generally isn’t too difficult to make. After its prepared it is left to cool and set for a little while (or prepared the day before) before slicing and usually served with salad. 

My recipe varies slightly from the Cypriot; macaronia tou fournou as its more suited to using commonly available ingrediates and is a slightly healthier version of the traditional recipe, as I am always trying to make sure meals taste great without feeling guilty after indulging. It is typically less fat compred with the traditional version and is approximately 510Kcal per serving despite it being a filling hearty dish.

8 30 min’ 40 min’1 h 10 min’



  • 1200g Lean Pork / Lamb Mince (or mixed)
  • 1 Can (400g) Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Chicken stock cube
  • 2 Large onions diced
  • 4 tbsp Tomato purée 
  • 2 tsp Garlic puree
  • 300ml Hot water
  • 1 tsp Ground cinamon
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Died Mint
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Ground black pepper
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil


  • 150g Plain flour
  • 50ml Olive oil
  • 1.2ltrs Skimmed milk (at room temperature) 
  • 200g Kefalotyri grated (or reduced fat mature cheddar)
  • 2 Large free range eggs
  • 2 tsp Ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper


  • 500g Bucatini Pasta



In a large pan heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and add the garlic puree and diced onions. Sauté on a medium heat till the garlic is fragrant and the onions are clarified.

Once the onions have softened add the mincemeat to the pan. Cook off the mincemeat breaking up with a wooden spoon / spatula as you go.

When the mincemeat has browned off add the dried herbs and seasoning to the meat and mix through until eavenly distributed.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes and leave on the hob to heat back up.

Whilst the meat is heating dissolve the stock cubes in 300ml of hot water and add to the meat mixture with the bayleaves and tomato puree.

Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce thickens a little and the bubbles slowly pop as it boils.

Remove the bayleaves from the mixture and set aside to cool whilst you prepare the Béchamel.


•Top tip: “stir it up!” this is key. It’s very easy to leave the sauce on the heat for 20-30 seconds                                         and clumps start to form at the bottom. Make sure to continuous stir the sauce whilst on the heat reaching all the way to the bottom of the pan.

To make the sauce, add the olive oil to a medium - large pan and place on a high heat. 

Once the oil is hot reduce to a medium heat and add the flour to the hot oil to cook off the flour. Do this in stages, making sure to stir continuously, until smooth and well combined.

Slowly add the milk whilst whisking until the mixture is smooth with no big lumps. 

Reduce the heat to a medium heat. Add in the salt, pepper and nutmeg, and continue to heat the sauce for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously, until the sauce starts to bubble and it thickens. It should resemble a custard like consistency.

After the sauce has thickened remove the from the heat and add in half the cheese and stir through. The cheese will melt and take some of the latent heat out of the mixture and leave to cool slightly for a minute.

In a separated bowl whisk up the eggs until roughly mixed. Slowly add in the eggs whilst stirring the mixture to ensure the eggs don’t curdle as you do.

Add the sauce back to a low and bring back to boiling point, stirring as you go. 

Once it starts to bubble again remove from the heat. Take 3 tablespoons of the sauce and stir into the mincemeat mix. This adds a creaminess to the tomato sauce and helps keep the mincemeat and pasta together after its baked.

Set the rest of the Béchamel sauce aside until needed.


Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6 or 180οC (fan oven).

Grease a large roasting pan / baking dish (approximatly 38x26x8cm). Add a thin layer of the mincemeat to the base of the dish to prevent the pasta sticking directly to the bottom.

Add a single layer of bucatini across the pan. Try to keep the lengths in the same orientation. It may have been my obsession to organise everything which made me do this originally, but this will make the slices easier to divide and looks great when served up!

Add a layer of mincemeat above the pasta and repeat 3 times until you have 3 even layers of mincemeat and 3 layers of pasta on top of each other.

Stir the Béchamel sauce removing any accumulated skin. Add the sauce to the the pan forming the top layer of the Pastichio. Smooth of the top with a spatula and sprinkle over the other half of the cheese.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes until top has started to brown and the Béchamel has set. 

Remove from the oven and cover with a tea towel, leaving to cool for 15-20 minutes before serving. This is one of those dishes that are better the day after. Cooling will allow the cheese in the sauce to set and the starchy pasta and mincemeat to absorb any residual moisture. If sliced to early the bake will fall apart.

After cooling the outside of the dish should be warm to touch and the Béchamel should be firm to touch and keep together like quiche when cut. Divide the bake into 8 eaqual portions with a sharp knife. 

Serve each piece with an angled serving spatula, or cake server, onto plates and enjoy with a fresh side salad or dressed greens of your choice.

This will keep in a sealed container for up to 2 days or can be frozen for later.

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