Ragout of Beef or Veal with Pasta (Pastitsada )

Pastitsada is a speciality from the island of Corfu. It is traditionally made with rooster, but can also be cooked with beef or veal.

Since this is one of the best known of the Corfiot specialties there are, not surprisingly, many different claims to the "authentic" recipe. One version calls for a single piece of pot roast, studded with garlic and powdered cinnamon, browned with onions and deglazed with half a glass of vinegar. It also omits the hot pepper. In another, you do not brown the meat at all but heat it in a covered, nonstick pan with some salt and pepper until it exudes its liquid and then simmer uncovered until it evaporates. Then you add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon, and olive oil, and sauté stirring for about 10 minutes before adding the tomato paste and water. Whichever method you choose, you’ll end up with a very good dish.

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1 kg lean beef or veal, cubed
1/2 kg onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
2 tbs tomato paste
1 cup (240 ml) white wine
1 head garlic, finely chopped
4-5 cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tbs vinegar
1 stick cinnamon
1 tbs hot red pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 kg package thick macaroni or bucatoni
3 tbs butter
1 cup kefalotyri, Romano, or Parmesan cheese, grated


  • Finely chop onions and garlic

1.  Sauté the meat and onion in the olive oil until lightly browned.

2.  Mix the tomato paste with the wine and pour over the meat.

3.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the macaroni, butter, and cheese.

4.  Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours until the meat is tender, adding a little hot water if necessary.

5.  As the meat nears readiness, boil the macaroni in plenty of salted water until al dente and then drain.

6.  Place the macaroni on a large platter and sprinkle liberally with grated cheese.

7.  Heat the butter until sizzling and pour over the cheese. Serve the meat with its sauce in a separate bowl.