CORFU "PASTITSADA" WITH FREE RANGE ROOSTER AND PASTA
Courtesy of Chef Michail
Start with one or two young, free-range roosters, under a year old, about 2.5 kilos in all. (If you’d like to use up an older bird, marinate overnight in red wine and olive oil. You can substitute free-range chicken if you wish.)
Cut rooster into pieces, salt, massage salt into the meat. Dredge with flour and brown in hot skillet.
While the rooster is browning, heat another pot with plenty of olive oil. Add 3 chopped red onions, and 6 minced cloves of garlic. Pour in a glass of dry white wine. Add 5 grated tomatoes, a few tablespoons of tomato paste for more color, and a large bunch parsley, chopped fine.
The spices are to taste. Michail uses five to six bay leaves, about half a teaspoon of cinnamon, and ¾ of a teaspoon each of cumin, oregano, black pepper, nutmeg, and sweet red paprika. Stir, taste, and adjust to your own preferences.
Let the pot simmer for an hour. Towards the end of that hour, heat up a large pot of water and cook the pasta. The pasta traditionally used in this dish is bucatini, like fat spaghetti only tubular, with a hollow center. Any thick spaghetti or penne will work fine.
In a large ceramic pot, sprinkle about a half a cup mizithra cheese; you can substitute Parmesean or any dry, hard cheese. Add cooked spaghetti to the pot, spoon the rooster and some of the sauce on top. Hold the rest of the sauce to pass at the table. Bake the rooster for 15 minutes in an oven that’s 190 Celsus, 375 Fahrenheit. Serve and enjoy.
For more, see my post Breaking Bread with Strangers in Athens
I’m constantly collecting recipes as part of Our Mediterranean Comfort Food Tour. I take extensive notes, film every bit of the process I can, and review the details with the chef. I strive for accuracy, but as you can see from the videos, measurements are usually by eye, and the ingredients may be subtly different than what we find at home. Since I’m on the road, I have not had the opportunity to test any of these recipes in my own kitchen. If you do try a recipe and have comments or suggestions for refining it, please let me know.