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Pastitsada Recipe: Corfu’s Top Traditional Dish

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Last updated on November 19th, 2023 at 02:16 pm

The authentic Pastitsada or Pastitsado

Here is the authentic original recipe of Pastitsada, complete with the ingredients and instructions for preparing the most characteristic dish of Corfu’s cuisine.

This recipe serves approximately 4-5 people, and to stay true to tradition, we use rooster meat. Of course, you have the option to substitute with beef or chicken in the same recipe.



  1. 3 large onions (Pastitsada requires a generous amount of onions)
  2. Approximately 1.5 kilograms of rooster or meat (beef or chicken)
  3. 200-250 grams of thick tomato paste
  4. 100 grams of extra virgin olive oil
  5. 50 grams of red wine
  6. 1 tablespoon of sugar
  7. 1 kilogram of thick macaroni, penne, or spaghetti (depending on your preference)
  8. Grated cheese, kefalotyri
  9. 1 spoonful of Spetseriko (a mix of spices)
  10. Salt and pepper to taste
  11. Water

Spetseriko is the special mix of spices used to create the distinctive flavor of Pastitsada. Typically, a small tablespoon per four portions is sufficient, or adjust to taste for a spicier preference.

The composition of Spetseriko

  1. 10 grams of grated clove
  2. 50 grams of cinnamon
  3. 50 grams of nutmeg
  4. 70 grams of sweet paprika
  5. 50 grams of cumin
  6. 20 grams of hot pepper or red peppers, dried and grated (Bukovo).
    Adjust the amount of Bukovo based on your desired level of spiciness.
  7. 100 grams of sweet pepper from grated sweet red peppers (sweet Bukovo)
  8. 20 grams of grated spice
  9. 30 medium bay leaves, crushed into a fine powder
  10. 25 grams of black pepper

The above quantities are intended for multiple uses, up to 10 or more servings. Store the mix in a closed glass jar to preserve its freshness and use it for your next Pastitsado.

Time for cooking

  1. Cut the rooster into 4 or 5 large pieces.
  2. Chop the onions into very small pieces, or better yet, dissolve them in a blender.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat 100 grams of olive oil until hot. Immediately add the rooster pieces and move them around until they develop some color.
  4. Add the chopped onions to the saucepan and sauté. Be cautious not to remove the rooster from the saucepan at this point, as some recipes may suggest.
  5. Once the onions have gained a bit of color, pour in the wine and continue cooking until it evaporates.
  6. As it dries a bit, add 250 grams of tomato paste and hot water (enough to cover the top of the rooster).
  7. Once the mixture begins to boil, add one teaspoon or a bit more of the Spetseriko mix, along with salt and a tablespoon of sugar. Stir well.
  8. Allow the mixture to simmer on low heat. Stir occasionally with a large wooden spoon to prevent sticking.
  9. When the sauce thickens, the dish is ready. Set the saucepan aside and prepare the spaghetti.

All the above processes should be done slowly and should take almost two hours! The food is served with pasta, such as thick macaroni, penne, or spaghetti.

  • Spaghetti or thick macaroni is prepared at the end, just before serving, using the usual process. After straining, you may choose to sauté the pasta in another utensil with a little oil.
  • Serve the rooster, the sauce, and the spaghetti together. Don’t forget to sprinkle some grated cheese on top.

The same process is followed when using beef or chicken instead of a rooster.

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