Ioannina

Makaronopita (pasta pie)

Traditional Ioannite pasta pie with feta and kefalotyri cheese.
Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-Makaronopita (pasta pie)
Before cooking...

During hard times, the Epirote homemakers could feed the whole family with a few pasta, flour, eggs, and feta cheese. The pasta pie incorporates the core philosophy of the Epirotic cuisine, that any available ingredient can contribute to a wholesome meal. Moreover, pasta pies were an essential part of local Aromanian customs, as they were often baked and served on New Year’s Day (with the lucky hidden coin inside) instead of the Vasilopita.

Makaronopita (pasta pie)

Ingredients

In the Epirus mountains, dairy products were usually in abundance. That explains why feta cheese is present in almost every traditional recipe. Here, feta is combined with kefalotyri, a hard cheese that pairs well with pasta. Other versions combine feta and yogurt in the filling, albeit the flavorful flagship Greek cheese is enough to satisfy any palate.

For the traditional filo pastry:

  • 250 g all-purpose flour
  • 100 g water, lukewarm
  • 25 g olive oil
  • 8 g salt
  • 5 g vinegar

For the filling:

  • 1 pack of middle-sized spaghetti
  • Butter (as needed)
  • 5 eggs
  • 500 g feta, crumbled
  • 100 g kefalotyri, grated
  • 1 small glass olive oil
  • 250 ml milk
  • Salt (to preference)
  • Pepper (to preference)

Note: For a more authentic traditional filo dough, you can use hard flour, albeit you might have to sift it first. Alternatively, you can use ready-made traditional Greek filo sheets.

Execution

  1. Boil the pasta in salted water for 6-7 minutes, strain, and leave aside.
  2. Place a saucepan on low heat, add the butter, and let it melt.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the eggs until mixed and keep a small part of the mixture for the top.
  4. Add the crumbled feta cheese, the grated kefalotyri, the melted butter, and the olive oil to the egg mixture and stir.
  5. Add the mixture to the pasta, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir.
  6. In a large bowl, gently stir the ingredients for the traditional filo dough except for the water (flour, salt, olive oil, and vinegar). Add the water slowly while mixing with a spoon. When the liquids are absorbed, knead the mixture until the dough is smooth and non-sticky. Roll it into a ball, cover it with a towel, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  7. When the dough is ready, divide it into 4 even balls and roll them into 4 thin sheets with the rolling pin.
  8. Set the oven to “upper and lower heat” and preheat to 200 °C.
  9. Brush a baking pan with butter and lay a filo sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and lay another filo sheet. Spread the filling evenly and lay the 3rd filo sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and cover the pie with the last filo sheet. Brush the surface with the remaining egg mixture and slowly pour the milk on top.
  10. Place the pan on the lower rack and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown.
  11. Let the makaronopita cool for a bit and serve.

This savory Ioannite pie is a delightful and wholesome delicacy full of energy-providing carbs and a savory treat for pasta lovers everywhere.

After cooking...

Ioannina, the bustling Epirus capital spread on the bank of Lake Pamvotida, boasts one of the oldest and best-maintained Byzantine castles in Greece. Inside its high walls, it encloses the picturesque old city of Ioannina. There, among the many awe-inspiring monuments of the Middle Byzantine and Ottoman periods, modern everyday life blends smoothly with the region’s rich and turbulent history.

Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-After cooking...