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Rome Snapshots and Pastitsio ala Italika

It’s almost a week since we came back from our trip to Italy and was really busy to post as a lot of things had to be done after we returned. We had a great time and I wanted to share some of the shots from Rome. This was not an easy job having to choose from about 1.000 photos.

The Tiber River

Fountains: Fontana di Trevi, Piazza di Navone, Barberini (Tritone), Spanish Steps


One of the extremely enjoyable benefits of blogging is getting to meet other bloggers whose work I respect. We met Natalia, of Gatti, fili e Farina and her husband Andrea and had a great time together. Natalia showed us around in the Vatican on one day and another day she showed us around from Piazza di Venezia towards the Ghetto (Jewish neighbourhood), Galeria Spada, Piazza di Fiori, where she helped me choose some cheeses (buffalo mozarella, caccio, gorgonzola picante and another one with peppers, I am not sure about the name.  We ended in a pub serving forty different kinds of draught beer and some delicious appetizers.

The Colosseum

You probably all know that Rome is the city of architecture with so many beautiful buildings, fountains, piazzas etc. We visited most of the important monuments but there is still more to see, so we will have an excuse for another trip in the future.

The Italian people were fantastic and all the people we asked for instructions were more than willing to give explanations and very polite. I have seen a lot of similarities between Greeks and Italians and it is no wonder that Italians and Greeks have a saying “Una Faccia Una Razza”, in Greek we pronounce it “Una fatsa una razza” and literally, it means “one face one race” and refers to similarities to our culture, history and manners.

What can I say about the food and wine. Everything was delicious, especially the pasta dishes and I enjoyed a glass of chianti with every meal.

I could not resist trying the gelato with so many flavour to choose from and some tiramisu!!

When we returned I made Pastitsio, but this time made a twist to the traditional Greek recipe, using ground chicken and a sauce similar to Bolognaise sauce and of course used some of that caccio cheese, by sprinkling some on the pasta before adding the meat, some in the bechamel and of course some on top.  It was delicious.

Pastitsio ala Italika (Italian Style)


  • 1 packet (500 grams) tubular pasta No. 3 or No. 6 (boiled al dente)
  • 1 cup caccio, grated

Ingredients for the sauce

  • 500 grams minced chicken
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup red dry wine
  • 1 (500 grams) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 small bay leaf

Ingredients for the Bechamel

  • 1.5 litres milk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (or olive oil based margarine)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of grated caccio cavallo cheese (the remaining mixed in the pasta and some sprinkled on top)


  1. Boil (al dente) and drain pasta and mix with some of the cheese.
  2. In a large skillet heat the oil and sauté the onion, celery and garlic until soft and transparent. Add the minced meat and sauté until white.
  3. Add the wine and mix until the alcohol evaporates and then add the tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir until smooth.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and bring to slow simmer.
  5. Simmer for about 45 minutes, until sauce is thick. Remove the bay leaf.
  6. Put half the pasta in a baking tin (about 33 x 40 cm.) and mix in 3 tablespoons of bechamel sauce.
  7. Spread the sauce on pasta, add the remaining pasta on top and cover with the bechamel sauce and the remaining caccio. See step by step recipe how to make the bechamel here.
  8. Top with Bechamel Sauce.
  9. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C until golden brown on top.

Other relevant recipes:

Pastitsio the Greek way
Pastitsio Lasagna Makaronia tou Fournou (Pastitsio the Cypriot way)Pastitsio Nistisimo (Vegan)

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38 Responses

  1. I have always enjoyed my time in Roma! Such a wonderful city with beautiful architecture and even better food. I love your twist on the traditional pastitsio recipe Ivy.

  2. A great trip! Thanks for sharing those pictures with us! It must have been lovely to meet Natalia!

    I love Pastitsio! Yours looks wonderful!


    Rosa xoxo

  3. Ivy, this pastitsio looks different and very cool! I bet you had some great time in Roma. You have made me want to travel, travel and travel.

  4. Ivy, the pastitsio looks different and very cool! I bet you had some great time in Roma. Your posts have made me want to travel, travel and travel!!

    • Thanks Angie. Perhaps you can combine a trip to Athens and then to Rome or v.v. 🙂

  5. Υou know, Ivy, the pasticcio di maccheroni is the traditional first course of many Italian's weddings and holiday dinners and marks the last Sunday of Carnival.
    Pasticcio also can mean a mess. So, when you are really screwed up, you should say "Bel pasticcio!" 😉

    • Thanks Marianna for this information. Did not know about this.

  6. The post reminds me of the summer time we had there this August.
    And looks like youtoo had a fabulous time.

  7. Thanks so much for sharing your photos of Rome. It's been ages since I've visited and the photos really took me back.

    Thanks also for a great pasticcio recipe. I do hope you plan on sharing some of your pasta dishes with Presto Pasta Night again.

  8. Liz

    Oh why oh why did you have to mention Tiramisu??? I love it!

    It looks like you had an absolutely lovely time in Rome. I'm just a teeny bit jealous.

  9. Welcome back Ivy, I too have a wonderful time in Rome (98). It's always good to make new friends and hopefully they will try their hand at Pastitsio too!

  10. Wow…sounds like a great. the pictures speak for themselves…thanks for sharing those lovely clicks with us. The array of cheese makes one very craving:) Nice and interesting recipe…me too, if something is catchy, wanna try them immediately at home:)

  11. I haven't been in Rome yet and really enjoyed a virtual tour through your pictures! The Pastitsio Italian style sounds really wonderful!

  12. Looks like you really had a great time in Italy! And that pasta dish was a great way to honor that vacation 🙂 lovely photos!!

  13. So nice to hear you had a great trip in Rome. I also have the feeling to be able to meet bloggers when u travel, such a nice experience and much better than the old time penpals. U have so many photos here which give us a quick tour of Rome too. Lovely and special recipe : )

  14. Beautiful photos and must have been an incredible trip! The food looks amazing. Your pastitsio looks delicious too!

  15. Thank you for sharing this with us, I don't know Roma, but it's a dream for me to go there !
    Have a good evening

  16. I have so many fond memories of Rome as we went there on our honeymoon. I sure want to visit again. That pastitsio dish sounds amazing. Your photos are so beautiful.

  17. Your pictures are gorgeous Ivy! I hope to visit Rome one day. How fun to meet your friend. It looks like you had a nice time with her. I love your Pastisio! What a delicious version!

  18. Ivy mon amie, grâce à toi , je fais un magnifique voyage avec des recettes en plus.

  19. Ivy, it looks like you had such a lovely trip! We are going to Italy in February, but sadly, we won't visit Roma – we'll be in Venice and Florence or Milano. That gorgeous pastitsio! What a wonderful twist. I'm going to have to try to make that for certain!

    • Pity you cannot spare a few days for Rome. It's so much worth visiting.

  20. robin

    Yvi, your pictures and comments make me want to go to Rome right away! My husband loves Italy as well, especially the food part! We were looking for a short trip to get over a difficlut time where my son had a car accident and my back kept me on the couch for a whole week….
    Greetings from Holland

    • Hope you are feeling better now Robin and you'll make this trip soon.

  21. wow,ivy,thanks for sharing your wonderful trip and those awesome photos!pastitsio is delicious,of course!

  22. Looks like you had a smashing time – love all of your pics. And great fun to meet Natalia. I like the look of your pastitsio – delicious.

  23. Glad you had a great time in Rome.

  24. Cara Ivy, So nice to see the pictures you took ! In the last days I'm working a lot and didn't visit anyone on the net !! The cheese is simply a cow cheese with red pepper (formaggio al peperoncino) did you and your family enjoy all the cheeses ? What happened with the ravioli maker ?Your ravioli looked great. Say ciao to Dimitri and please if you can come back soon !!

    • Grazie cara Natalia. Yum, the cheese were fantastic but pity I did not get more. Loved all of them and you will be seeing where I used them soon.
      I'll have to try the ravioli maker again soon, as I think I know what went wrong. Dimitris sends his regards. Shall be waiting for you, Andrea and the children to come to Greece. Baci.

  25. What beautiful pcitures. I would love to go there.

    How nice you met Natalia. Thats a lot of fun!

  26. Well, it looks like you had a fantastic time. I love you photos! So much to look at! I can't wait to go to Rome.

  27. Hi Ivy, love all those pictures and food! That’s why each time, I returned to Rome, I covered 1 area at a time. There’s so much interesting things to talk/blog about Rome at every turn of corner.

    There’re of course, the tourist trap areas but you’re lucky to meet your Italian Foodie friend.

    I have to try out the recipes 🙂 Thank you for sharing! Hugs!

  28. I really enjoyed reading about your trip to Rome! Brings back such memories!!! I miss the gelato more than anything else! 🙂

  29. Amazing post. Beautiful pictures, and the food.. hmmm looks yummy and delicious.

  30. Earnestine Coltrin

    hi this is a nifty website that you’ve, thank you 4 sharing it with us.

  31. Alberghi a Roma

    Its nice

  32. What a great post!
    We Romans need more people like you, who will not only travel, but also describe their experience in this wonderful city rich in history and traditions. And you are absolutely right Italians and Greeks have lots in common, mostly because the Romans always wanted to be like the Greeks. The food here is delicious just like the Greek food and fusion cuisine is becoming more and more popular, so mixing Greek and Italian cuisines is mixing the best of two worlds.
    Thank you.

    • Ivy

      Thank you Dmitri. Your site is also wonderful.