Braised Chicken in Aromatic Tomato
Sauce (Pastitsatha)

This dish is one that evolved from Corfu to stretch scant supplies of meat. Consisting of chicken, turkey, beef or veal braised in tomato sauce fragrant with spices, it is served over thick tubular pasta from Corfu called "perciatellli" (if you can't find it, use spaghetti). Kefalotyri is a nutty tasting hard cheese similar to Parmesan. It is available at Greek markets.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 (3 pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 cups chopped red onions
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole Italian-style tomatoes, drained, juices reserved, tomatoes chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon (or more) red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Pinch of granulated sugar
  • 12 ounces perciatelli pasta or spaghetti
  • Freshly grated kefalotyri cheese or Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken in batches and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch.
  2. Place chicken on platter. Add onions to Dutch oven; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add spices; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and their juices and water. Return chicken to Dutch oven. Cover; simmer over medium-low heat until chicken is very tender, about 35 minutes.
  3. Transfer chicken to platter. Tent with foil. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar, tomato paste and sugar to Dutch oven. Simmer until thickened to sauce consistency, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and more vinegar, if desired. Remove from heat. Cover to keep warm.
  4. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Transfer pasta to platter. Top with chicken, sauce and cheese.

From the kitchen of Martin James – Copenhagen, Denmark.