Lamb pastitsada

This recipe was born during the Venetian occupation of Corfu and merges Italian and Greek flavours. It’s most commonly made with beef but we prefer the softness of slow-braised lamb. 


2 tbsp olive oil

2 x 300g packs lamb neck fillet, cut into 2-3cm chunks

2 onions, sliced

2 carrots, cut into 2cm slices

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 cinnamon sticks

2 cloves

pinch ground allspice

1 bay leaf

250ml red wine

2 x 400g cans plum tomatoes

450g macaroni or elicoidali


1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan. Season the meat and brown in batches; set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan; cook the onions gently for 10 minutes. Add the carrot, garlic, spices and bay; cook for 2 minutes more. Return the meat and any resting juices along with the wine and tomatoes.

2. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover; simmer gently for 2 hours. Uncover and cook for 1 hour more, until the lamb is meltingly tender and the sauce is thick and glossy.

3. Season, then remove and discard the whole spices. Cover; rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the pasta in salted water until al dente; drain. Serve the lamb over the pasta; top with parmesan, if liked.

Additional information:

Follow step 1, then secure the lid on the cooker and bring to high pressure. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 25-35 minutes or until the lamb is tender. Remove the lid and briskly simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened. Follow step 3 to serve.

Put all the ingredients – except the olive oil (it isn’t needed) and pasta – in a slow cooker. Cover and set the cooker to low for 6-8 hours, until the meat is really tender. Strain the sauce into a saucepan and set the meat and veg aside. Briskly reduce the sauce by 2/3, then mix everything back together and season. Follow step 3 to serve.


This recipe first appeared in Waitrose Kitchen magazine. myWaitrose members can download the Waitrose Kitchen app edition for FREE. Find out more.

  • Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus resting
  • Cooking time: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Total time: 3 hours 35 minutes, plus resting

Serves: 6

Nutritional Info

Typical values per serving:

Energy 2,646kJ
Fat 26.4g
Saturated Fat 11.1g
Carbohydrate 65.3g
Sugars 11.4g
Protein 32.9g
Salt 0.5g
Fibre 5.5g

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4 stars

Average user rating Based on 32 ratings

This recipe was first published in Sun Feb 01 15:47:00 GMT 2015.