Slow Cooker Pastitsio – a Greek-inspired Dish

Slow Cooker Pastitsio – a Greek-inspired Dish

Tasty slow cooker pastitsio – so easy to make and perfect for the family to enjoy. This Greek-inspired dish is full of flavour.

Slow Cooker Pastitsio
If you read my blog regularly you’ll know I’m always on the lookout for tasty meals to make for my family in the slow cooker. It’s the convenience of being able to do the cooking preparation earlier in the day so you don’t have to do it after a long day when everyone is tired and hungry.

Slow cooker lasagne remains one of our favourite recipes as it is so simple to make and you can include lots of vegetables to make it healthier and to make the meat go further. This dish uses some of the elements of lasagne so it’s a great option for families as it will be a familiar dish.

This delicious slow cooker pastitsio combines lamb mince and red pepper in a tomato sauce spiced with a touch of cinnamon with those perennial favourites pasta tubes, béchamel sauce and grated cheese.

Quick to prepare and then leave to cook in the slow cooker, you’ll definitely want seconds.

This makes a deep layered dish which can easily serve 6 people. Made in a 5.7 litre slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Pastitsio

What is Pastitsio?

Pastitsio is a typical Greek dish similar to lasagne with layers of minced (ground) meat in a sauce spiced with cinnamon or nutmeg, tube pasta and béchamel sauce. It often uses lamb but can also be made with beef too.

There are variations on pastitsio which are made in Greece, Cyprus. Egypt and Malta, all with regional differences such as the kind of meat and cheese used but the overall idea is the same. This recipe is in the Greek style.

It is bound to be far from authentic as I am not Greek but this is my take on the dish, adapted to be made in the slow cooker!

Slow Cooker Pastitsio

Ingredients needed for Slow Cooker Pastitsio

To make this recipe, you will need the following:

  • olive oil
  • lamb mince/ground lamb – I used 10% fat but the normal 20% fat mince can also be used (if so make sure you drain the mince after frying it off)
  • onions
  • red pepper
  • cinnamon, oregano
  • chopped tomatoes (tinned)
  • tomato puree
  • garlic puree – you could also use fresh garlic instead
  • pasta tubes – I used rigatoni but you could also use macaroni
  • plain flour
  • butter
  • milk – I used semi-skimmed but full-fat milk is also fine
  • grated cheese – I used mature cheddar

Slow Cooker Pastitsio
How to Make Pastitsio in a Slow Cooker

Step 1. Fry the lamb mince in the oil in a pan or wok, then add the chopped onion, red pepper, tinned tomatoes, cinnamon, oregano, garlic puree, tomato puree and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Note that you don’t need to cook the sauce at this point, just make it up in the pan after browning the lamb mince. It will cook in the slow cooker. Place half the meat sauce in the slow cooker.

This meat layer ensures the first layer of pasta will cook through in the sauce. If the pasta was directly in the bottom of the slow cooker it would stick and probably stay hard.

Assembling slow cooker pastitsio - first layer

Step 2. Top the meat sauce with half the pasta tubes – I used rigatoni here.

Assembling the slow cooker pastitsio - adding the first layer of pasta
Step 3. Add the rest of the meat sauce on top of the pasta.

Assembling slow cooker pastitsio - adding the rest of the meat sauce
Step 4. Add the rest of the pasta on top of the meat sauce.

Assembling slow cooker pastitsio - adding the rest of the pasta
Step 5. Make the béchamel sauce in a small saucepan (melt the butter, add the flour, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the milk little by little, whisking very well) and bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes until very thick. Add the ground nutmeg and salt and pepper to season the sauce.

Step 6. Pour the béchamel sauce over the pasta, ensuring it is all covered evenly.

Assembling slow cooker pastitsio - adding the béchamel sauce

Step 7. Top with grated cheese.

Assembling slow cooker pastitsio - adding the grated cheese on top

Step 8. Cook for four hours on high or 6-7 hours on low.

Step 9. Slice with a serrated knife through all the layers, and use a large spatula to remove portions from the slow cooker pot. Serve with green vegetables on the side.

Tip: To get cleaner slices to come out of the slow cooker pot, allow the pastitsio to stand for at least half an hour before serving if you can. Then it won’t fall apart quite as much as it can do.

Slow Cooker Pastitsio

More Slow Cooker Recipes To Try

If you are looking for slow cooker recipes that are perfect for families with children, make sure you check out my guide to family slow cooker recipes that kids love which has 20 brilliant recipes to shake up your meal plan.

Other lamb-based dishes you might want to try if you love lamb are slow cooker moussaka and slow cooker lamb casserole.

Pin for later

Slow Cooker Pastitsio

Slow Cooker Pastitsio

Slow Cooker Pastitsio

A Greek-inspired dish with lamb mince in a lightly spiced sauce with red pepper, pasta, béchamel sauce and topped with grated cheese, cooked in your slow cooker
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: layered pasta dish
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Resting time (optional): 30 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 535kcal
Author: bakingqueen74

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 500 g lamb mince / ground lamb I used 10 % fat
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 400 g chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic puree
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 250 g pasta tubes I used rigatoni

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 30 g butter
  • 30 g plain flour
  • 350 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 70 g mature cheddar grated
  • 0.25 tsp ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to season

Instructions

  • Fry the lamb mince in the olive oil in a pan or wok.
  • Once browned, remove from the heat and add the onion, red pepper, tin of tomatoes, tomato puree, cinnamon, oregano and garlic puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Place half the meat sauce in the base of the slow cooker pot.
  • Add half the rigatoni in a layer on top of the meat sauce.
  • Put the rest of the meat sauce on top.
  • Add the rest of the rigatoni on top of the second layer of lamb sauce.
  • Make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour, cook the roux for 1-2 minutes. Add the milk little by little, whisking well after each addition. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until thick.
  • Season the béchamel sauce with salt and pepper and add the nutmeg.
  • Pour the white sauce over the pasta and meat sauce layers in the slow cooker pot, ensuring all the pasta is covered.
  • Top with the grated cheese.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.
  • If you have time, leave the dish to stand in the slow cooker for 30 minutes before serving so that it stays together better.
  • Serve by slicing through all the layers with a serrated knife then using a large spatula to serve out portions.

Video

Notes

I made this recipe in a 5.7 litre slow cooker.
Tried this recipe?Tag me @bakingqueen74 or use hashtag #bakingqueen74!
A Greek-inspired dish with lamb mince in a lightly spiced sauce with red pepper, pasta, béchamel sauce and topped with grated cheese, cooked in your slow cooker - ideal for family mealtimes


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Tara

Love that this is made in the slow cooker — delicious!

I’ve never tried this Greek version of lasagna, but after reading this post I’m very excited to. I use my slow cooker all the time, and it makes dinner prep so easy. We don’t have lamb a lot, so I’m excited to add that to the menu.

Looks delicious! Something other then the go to slow cooker stew! It will make a welcome addition to my weekly meal rotation.

This dish looks so tasty and delicious. A combination of Lamb mince/Sauces/Pasta and cheese already makes me drooling..

Yum, I love that this can be done in the slow cooker as it makes the cooking time so much easier and enjoyable. Lots of yummy pictures too, thanks! Melted cheese on top – YUMMO!

Heidy

Hello, your crockpot pasta is a very different twist on the Greek version I grew up with, but you know what? I would totally dig in and be happy to do so!!!

This looks like such a great alternative to a lasagne, which my family loves! Even better when made in a slow cooker!

Definitely going to have a go at making this (though will be swapping the meat mince for veggie mince for the OH!). It looks delicious!