“Pastitsada”, “Pastitsado”, or chicken with pasta from Corfu



“Pastitsado” or “pastitsada” is the name of a local dish in Corfu, Greece. Typically, it is made with “rooster” but chicken will do just as well. Being a traditional Greek dish, you’ll find thousands of sites online giving you the recipe. Google gives more than a million hits. Well, this is the “pastitsado” that I made, following the recipe published in Gastronomos, August 2013 and cooked by Labrini Stathopoulou. What makes this dish special is the use of aromatic spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and the well-cooked sauce.


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 packet big pasta #2 (rigatoni or penne are, also, good)
  • olive oil
  • 2 pounds onions, chopped
  • 200ml olive oil
  • 150ml red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons “spetsieriko”

Ingredients for “spetsieriko”(all ground)

  • 3 parts cinnamon
  • 3 parts sweet paprika
  • 1 and 1/2 part allspice (“bahari”)
  •  1 and 1/2 part nutmeg
  • 1 and 1/2 part cloves
  • 1 part black pepper
  • 1 part hot paprika

How to make: Wash, pat dry, and cut the chicken into big pieces. Put some oil in a pan to cover the bottom and heat it. Saute the chicken pieces on both sides until they brown lightly.  About 3-4 minutes per side.  Do not crowd the pieces in the pan. Make a second round for the pieces that don’t fit.  Put them aside.

To make the sauce: in a big pot, heat some oil and saute the onions (about 6-8 minutes). Add the wine and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the chicken pieces on top of the onions. Add the salt, bay leaf and “spetsieriko”. Use a wooden spoon to integrate the spices and cook for couple more minutes. Add water, enough to cover the 3/4 of the chicken. Cover the pot and cook until the chicken is tender, about 1 hour. About 15 minutes before it’s ready, combine the tomato paste with 1/2 cup hot water and add it to the pot. Remove the chicken pieces and put them aside. Continue cooking the sauce until it’s nice and thick and reduced to half its size.  Be sure not to let the bottom burn. Use a wooden spoon to stir.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. After you drain the pasta, put it back in the pot and combine with a generous spoonful of sauce. You can serve the rest of the sauce at the side. Serve with the chicken pieces on top.


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