Italian Pasta Pie (Pasticcio)

Italian Pasta Pie Aka Pasticcio or Pasta Pasticciata

Wondering what special vegetarian pasta to make for the Holidays?

How does an Italian pasta pie with crust sound?

Crunchy and crumbly pie crust surrounding large bites of rigatoni (we used elicoidali pasta instead). The filling is all vegetarian too – creamy, savoury but not too heavy. That means you’ll have plenty of space for antipasti and panettone.

The best part is that it’s really easy to make it.




Is Pasticcio Greek or Italian?

Pasticcio is fundamentally Italian in origin, referred to as “pasticcio” or “pasta pasticciata.” With recipes varying widely across Italy’s regions, pasticcio is a baked pasta dish that includes layers of pasta encased in pastry crust.

In contrast, the Greek kitchen also has a dish named “pastitsio” which, while reminiscent of Italian pasticcio, is quite distinct in its ingredients and preparation. The Greek version traditionally involves tubular pasta, ground meat, and béchamel sauce, layered and baked to perfection.

Despite the similar name, the Italian Pasticcio and the Greek Pastitsio are distinct dishes, each representing their unique culinary cultures.


authentic Italian lasagna recipe with bechamel sauce lasagna vs pasticcio - pasticcio is a pasta bake sometimes enclosed with pastry


What is the difference between lasagna and pasticcio?

Lasagna and pasticcio, while both beloved Italian pasta dishes, possess clear distinctions. Lasagna is well-known for its layers of flat pasta, intermingled with rich béchamel sauce, ragù (meat sauce), and cheese. It is typically baked without any additional casing.

Pasticcio, on the other hand, often diverges from this formula by featuring various pasta shapes not limited to flat lasagna noodles. Furthermore, its defining characteristic is the pastry or bread crust encasing it, resulting in a dish that represents a true “pasta pie.” Pasticcio can include a wider range of ingredients in its filling, such as different cheeses, meats, vegetables, and even béchamel sauce, depending on the regional recipe.


Pasticcio Italian Pasta Meaning

The term “pasticcio” comes from the Italian language, where it literally translates to “mess” or “paste.” It references the mixture of ingredients that make up the filling of this dish. More metaphorically, it indicates the creative, eclectic nature of the dish, where diverse ingredients can come together in a delightful medley.

Pasticcio, often termed “pasta pasticciata” – translating to messed or messed-up pasta – is essentially a baked pasta dish, typically enclosed in a pastry or bread crust, making it a delectable Italian “pasta pie.”


vegetarian pasta pie filling with tofu



Pasticcio Italian Pasta Ingredients

The ingredients of Pasticcio can differ based on regional variations across Italy, but a common recipe involves the following: pasta (often penne, rigatoni, or similar tubular pastas), béchamel sauce, ragù (a meat-based sauce), mozzarella cheese, and grated Parmesan. The signature characteristic that sets pasticcio apart is its pastry crust. For this, you would need flour, butter, and eggs.

Some versions also include ingredients like mushrooms, peas, or other vegetables in the filling. Remember, the beauty of pasticcio is its versatility, so feel free to experiment with ingredients according to personal preferences and regional inspirations.


Italian Pasta Pie with Crust

Let’s make this delicious vegetarian pasta pie for the Holidays. Follow along on the screen, or print the recipe card. Before you start make sure you have all the ingredients you need, or suitable replacements.


Italian pasta pie in pastry also know as pasticcio and pasta pasticciata

Italian pasta pie in pastry also know as pasticcio and pasta pasticciata

Italian Pasta Pie with Crust

A vegetarian pasta pie fit for the holidays, crunchy and crumbly on the outside and creamy and aromatic on the inside. Did I say it's vegetarian?
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 small
Calories 800 kcal


  • 1 medium sized pot
  • 1 silicone spoon
  • 1 chopping board
  • 1 chopping knife
  • 1 grater
  • 1 baking dish



  • Wash, peel and cut the onions.
    peeling onions
  • Transfer to your pot and drizzle with EVOO.
  • Let the onions sauté on their own.
    caramelized onions
  • In the meantime, open your tofu, drain any water, and crumble it in a plate or bowl. Set aside.
    tofu with balsamic
  • Drain your lentils and set those aside too.
  • Once the onion has started to brown, add the tofu, and the lentils in.
    adding lentils for pasta pie
  • Season with salt and pepper. Add the rosemary too.
    adding Italian rosemary
  • Then drizzle plenty of Saporoso Balsamic Vinegar of Modena - at least 5 tablespoons. Mix well and leave to cook for 10 minutes at low heat.
    Saporoso balsamic vinegar of Modena
  • Use this time to grate your cheese - parmesan, pecorino, or a mix of both.
    grating parmesan cheese
  • Put your water to boil so you can cook your pasta. Remember to salt it well.
  • When measuring your pasta make sure you keep in mind that the pasta will double in size and that you'll have at least half of that volume also in filling. I suggest you measure your pasta in your dish so you can see with your eyes and determine whether you need to use a larger dish, or cook less pasta.
    weighing rigatoni for pasta pie
  • Once the pasta has cooked, following packaging instructions, drain it and put it back in the pot.
  • Add the besciamella and 2/3 of the grated cheese onto the pasta, and mix well.
    rigatoni with besciamella and cheese
  • Then add the filling you cooked and mix again. Make sure to do a taste test, and add more balsamic or seasoning, if it needs it.
  • While the pasta cools, you want to blind bake your bottom pastry for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 160 degrees Celsius.
    brisee pastry for pasta pie
  • Then take the baked crust out and leave to cook for 20 minutes.
  • It's finally time to fill your pie with the pasta you prepared. Top with the remaining grated cheese. At this point you can either put it back in the oven to bake as it is; or you can add more brisee pastry on top, and then bake it.
    Italian pasta pie ready to bake
  • If you opt for option 1, your pasta will need to bake for around 20 minutes. Option 2 will require at least 30 minutes baking so the top pastry can cook well.
  • Once ready, take your vegetarian Italian pasta pie out of the oven. If you want to transfer it to a serving plate, I suggest you wait a little until the sides are cool. If you want to serve it straight away, just wait 5 minutes.
    Either way, Buon Appetito & Buone Feste!
    Italian pasta pie in pastry also known as pasticcio and pasta pasticciata (4)
Keyword holidays, pasta pie, pasticcio, vegetarian

Truffle Baked Pasta Pie Variation

In the pictures above you might have noticed two bottles of Italian Balsamic Vinegar – a dark one and a light one.

Well, the dark one is the Saporoso which I used throughout this recipe.

The light one is a truffle one which I suggest using if you like truffle and mushrooms, to make a variation of this recipe.

The variation simply consists into using some dried mushrooms – for more flavour and to avoid adding water to your pasta pie, since mushrooms are know to be watery when cooked. Then replace the Saporoso Balsamic Vinegar with either the White Truffle Balsamic Condiment in the pictures, or the Black Truffle one – both available on our website.


Author: Alessia


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