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Carnival Sunday and Zakynthian Chicken Pastitsada

Zakynthian chicken with spaghetti. (κοτόπουλο παστιτσάδα)

This recipe is best in summer when the tomatoes are at their best, or like I do, use tomatoes that have been kept from the season’s pickings and have been frozen ready for use. It is also known as the main dish in the last Sunday of Carnival period. The last day before lent Zakynthians would indulge themselves with this dish lavished in Zakynthian olive oil, tomatoes garlic and served with the famous Zakynthian local cheeese known as ladotiri. The plate has to be served up on thick tubular spaghetti which absorbs the sauce that the chicken had been cooking in. An extra note Zakynthians don’t just use any chicken this has to be prepared with the local farmer’s rooster.

What you need:-
chicken about two kilos (including the giblets) free ranged where possible, cut into serving pieces
10 cloves of garlic
500g of fresh tomatoes grated or puree or can of tomatoes
1/2 cup Zakynthian olive oil
500g spaghetti the long tubular kind, otherwise use a thick spaghetti type.
1 cinnamon stick, 5 cloves, salt, pepper and oregano to taste.

Preparation

Cut into small pieces the giblets and fry in a pan with a little olive oil. When it is almost ready, add half the chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Leave 1-2 minutes for the garlic to wilt and then remove from heat to cool.
Wash and thoroughly dry the chicken and place in a large saucepan, add the remaining oil.  Cook chicken, turning on all sides to brown when ready, add the remaining garlic, plenty of salt, pepper and oregano and cook for another 1-2 minutes.


Pour water into the pot until it covers the chicken. Add the tomatoes, cinnamon and cloves, and let the chicken cook for about 1 hour, until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is left with only the sauce.
In another saucepan, boil the spaghetti until al dente and then serve on a platter. Pour the sauce of the chicken over the spaghetti. On another platter, add the chicken cut into portions along with the stuffing and serve.
For a true Zakynthian dish you would then grate the Zakynthian local cheese (ntopio ladotiri) over the spaghetti or if not another hard cheese of your choice.

 

About Louise Inzk

Louise is Australian born and has been a Greek citizen since 1991. She has deep cultural ties with the island, often writing about Zakynthian Traditions and Culture. She is also an active member of the Volunteer Group of Zakynthos, Giostra Di Zante and is a member of the women's choir "Rodambelos". Her love of the island and all it offers saw her joining the Zakynthos (Zante) Informer admin team in 2014.

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