For the past 20 years, my family has been going on summer holidays to the Greek island of Corfu, and every time we go, I love digging into a bowl of pastitsada. The dish originates from Corfu and is traditionally made with rooster and bucatini pasta. I had this more traditional version once at The White House taverna and it was delicious.
However, almost every other time I’ve had it, it’s been with beef. The beef is slow cooked in a rich tomato and red wine ragu, lightly spiced with cinnamon and cayenne, and then tossed through pasta. It is heavenly! To keep it slightly more traditional, I’ve stuck with bucatini here, but really, any pasta will do. If you can’t find bucatini, rigatoni would be my second choice.
Honestly guys, if you do one thing this week, make pastitsada – you will not regret it! Let me know if you decide to make it – comment below and be sure to tag me in your photos @theglasgowdiet on Instagram
500g diced stewing steak (I get mine from Donald Butcher)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
Half a tsp cayenne pepper
500g tomato passata
250ml red wine
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper
375g bucatini pasta
Grated parmesan or pecorino, to serve
1. Preheat your oven to 160c fan. Put a large non-stick pan over a medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper then, in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, sear the beef until golden on all sides. Place the seared beef in a casserole dish.
2. Add a little more oil to the pan, reduce the heat to medium, then tip in the diced onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft, scraping up any bits of beef stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes, then tip this into the casserole dish along with the herbs and spices, red wine, red wine vinegar, and the passata. Half-fill the passata container with water, swirl it around, then add the tomatoey water to the dish.
3. Put the casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. then put the lid on and cook in the oven for 2-3 hours or until the beef is tender and falling apart.
4. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Cook the bucatini (or other pasta shape) to packet instructions, reserving some of the cooking water. Add the cooked pasta to the casserole dish along with a splash of the pasta cooking water. Toss everything together, season with salt and pepper to taste and you’re done!
5. Serve with some freshly grated parmesan or pecorino, if you like, dig in and enjoy!