In Greek: παστιτσάδα, pronounced pah-steet-SAH-thah
At every celebration and festival, and in every restaurant on the island of Corfu, some version ofpastitsatha is served. It can be made with meat, poultry, and seafood, and this version is a true specialty, made with farm-raised rooster. It’s delicious made with whole chicken or chicken pieces. The sauce is a spicy variation of kokkinisto.
Cook Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- 9-10 pounds of rooster or chicken, cut in serving sized pieces
- 1 pound of ziti pasta
- 5 ripe tomatoes, grated or chopped in blender
- 4 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 8 onions, cut in chunks
- 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 pound of kefalotyri cheese (or pecorino), grated
- 1 shot glass of brandy
- 1 tablespoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of spicy red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of basil
- 2 teaspoons of spitserika (a local spice), optional
Have 6 1/3 cups of hot water ready. Take a deep breath, and let’s go:
In a large wide frying pan, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom, add the rooster or chicken and cook until browned on all sides. Remove meat and set aside in a bowl. In the still hot oil, sauté the onion and garlic. Stir in basil, red pepper, and brandy. Return meat to the pot and add enough hot water to almost (but not quite) cover the meat. Sprinkle all the remaining spices evenly over the top (black pepper, cinnamon, whole cloves, nutmeg, and if available, spitserika). Stir the meat gently to evenly distribute spices. Cover and simmer for approximately 45 minutes.
When the meat is tender and can be pierced with a fork, add tomato paste, tomatoes, and a generous tablespoon of salt. (Salt is not added at the start as it will toughen the rooster meat during cooking.) Continue to cook for 10 minutes.
Fill a second pot with salted water to cook the pasta. Cook according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, remove the rooster meat from the pot with the sauce using a large fork, and place on a platter.
When the pasta is ready, drain and add to the first pot with the sauce. Stir well and remove from heat. Pour the sauce and pasta into a large bowl.
To serve, place a serving of pasta on a plate, top with a serving of chicken, and sprinkle with grated cheese.