Traditional Pastitsada Recipe
In this post we will share with you the legendary Corfiot pastitsada recipe. A delicious pasta dish, traditional pastitsada can only be found on the Island of Corfu.
Where does Pastitsada come from?
Like many other Corfu specialties, pastitsada originated in Italy. In the late 19th to early 20th century, this recipe became so popular among local housewives that they began to serve it every Sunday or on special holidays.
What is pastitsada?
On the Greek island of Corfu, authentic pastitsada (unlike its Italian descendant pastissáda de cavál which is made from horse meat) is a slow-cooked beef stew prepared in tomato sauce and spiced with (you will never guess) cinnamon, and served over pasta. But nowadays, you’ll see pastitsada made from any other meat that you can find in the refrigerator, from duck to chicken. No matter which meat is used, the taste is always delicious.
Of all the tasty food you can find in the country of Greece, it seems unfair that Corfu has so much all to itself. But it is what it is. If you’re planning to visit Corfu Town, Benitses, or any of the other beautiful beach towns in Corfu, you have to add pastitsada to your list of things to try in Corfu.
When Matt and I last visited Corfu, we had the chance to learn one of our favourite greek food recipes from a local Corfiot chef. To our surprise, the recipe is very easy, but the taste – OMG, it was so yummy! The meat was so tender and soft, it was literally falling from the bone. We will definitely do it again for our friends and families.
So if your holidays are far away but the hunger for Greek beef stew has been awakened within you, then do not lose a moment! Grab all the necessary ingredients and follow the pasta pastitsada recipe below.
Enjoy Our Pastitsada Recipe😋
- Beef cubes or chicken pieces: 1 kg
- Large onions: 3
- Olive oil: 250
- Bay leaf: 4
- Thick tomato paste: 200 g
- salt: 1 teaspoon
- Black pepper: 1/2 teaspoon
- Ground cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick): 1 tablespoon
- Pasta (penne/spaghetti/fusilli): 1 kg
- Grated cheese to garnish
- Shred (or finely cut) the large onions.
- Pour olive oil in a large pot and heat to medium. Prepare the meat (we used Greek chicken).
- When the olive oil is hot, add the meat to the large pot and put it on a high heat until boiling. Note: be careful when adding the meat to hot oil as it may spit.
- After 3-4 minutes, when the meat gets brown on one side, turn it over.
- Fry on the other side until golden brown, then remove the meat from the oil.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the onions into the same pot. Again, be careful as the oil will be very hot.
- Cook the onions for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Return the meat to the pot.
- Simmer the meat with the shredded onions for 10 mins.
- Add the tomato paste and stir well so the meat is coated.
- Add all the spices: cinnamon and bay leaves, salt and pepper.
- Pour water until the meat is just covered and bring to the boil.
- Cover with a lid and simmer for 1-2 hours on medium heat. The longer you let it soak in the sauce, the tastier it will be!
- When the stew is ready, you can start to cook the pasta (prepare it according to package instructions). When cooked, stir the pasta through the sauce.
- Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top (or any other cheese of your choice) for garnishing. Serve the pastitsada while hot.
- If you’re not in the mood for pasta, pastitsada can be served over mashed potatoes or rice.
- If you want to make it taste spicier, you can add curry powder, red pepper flakes and 2 garlic cloves.
- Pastitsada is commonly cooked with a glass of red wine, too. If you want to add red wine, you can do so just before adding the water.
- As it’s such a classic dish, there are many different pastitsada recipes. We gave you the easiest one so that you can easily repeat it at home. For more traditional Corfiot food check our Greek recipes.
Like this? There’s more…
Pastitsada, while amazing, isn’t the only Greek beef stew in town. Stifado is a delicious rival to the Greek beef stew throne. Stifado is cooked with lots of little shallot onions rather than pasta and is mind-blowingly good. If you want something a little different, but still traditional Greek, you should check out the spinach and feta pie, spanakopita. For Greek dessert, strawberry cheesecake is an absolute must.
Whichever Greek delicacy you choose to make, savour every bite of it!