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. 

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

Serves: 6


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.