Giouvetsi is a delicious and easy baked Greek pasta dish made with chicken, lamb or beef, orzo and tomato sauce.
Also called Youvetsi, Giouvesti is one of those recipes that calls for about twenty minutes of active prep – searing meat, sautéing chopped vegetables, and toasting the orzo. Then the oven does the rest of the work – transforming this simple dish into a truly memorable meal!
We used tender chunks of veal stew meat in our Giouvetsi recipe today, but just about any kind of meat works with this dish including chicken, other cuts of beef, lamb, or even meatballs!
But the main ingredient that give this Giouvetsi its distinctive flavor profile comes from the addition of a cinnamon stick in the tomato sauce. The cinnamon stick lends a warm, spicy and almost exotic undertone of flavor to the rich tomato sauce – so don’t leave it out!
Giouvesti is served with a generous sprinkle of fresh feta cheese, as well as chopped parsley on top – and these two garnishes add bright, fresh flavors to this wonderfully earthy stew.
Giouvetsi is Greek comfort food and this dish is perfect for feeding a crowd – ideally with a Greek salad on the side! Enjoy!Print
Feel free to swap in other meats including chicken, lamb, other cuts of beef, or meatballs.
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds fresh veal stew meat (cut into one-inch cubes if not already cut)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup sweet onion, diced (such as Vidalia)
1 ½ cups carrots, diced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 ½ cups red wine such as merlot or cabernet
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 cups water, divided
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 ½ cups orzo pasta
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Fresh parsley, minced for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a 6 quart or larger Dutch oven, add olive oil and set burner to high.
While oil is heating, salt and pepper the veal. Then add one half by placing each piece in with tongs, not touching each other. Sear on high for 4-5 minutes per side getting a nice crisp sear on each side. Remove to a bowl and repeat with the second half, also removing to the same bowl.
Reduce heat to medium high and add both onions and the carrot. Stir and cook for three minutes then add the tomato paste and garlic.
Cook the vegetables with the paste and garlic for two additional minutes, keeping the burner on medium high heat.
Add all of the red wine and scrape the pan bottom. This mixture will be thick because of the paste, so using a wooden spoon, stir often for five minutes or until most of the wine has evaporated and you are left with a thick sauce about the consistency of really thick pancake batter.
Add reserved veal with any juices collected in the bowl along with the tomatoes, one cup of the water, the cinnamon stick and the sugar.
Stir, cover and place in the oven for one hour and 15 minutes, stirring once half way through.
While stew is cooking, toast the orzo by cooking it in a dry sauté pan over medium high heat for about five minutes. Toss and stir often during the cooking time. Remove to a bowl until needed.
Remove the stew from the oven but leave the oven on. Discard cinnamon stick, add the remaining two cups of water and the toasted orzo. Stir, cover and place back in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring half way through.
Remove from oven after the 20 minutes, fluff and serve with crumbled feta cheese and fresh minced parsley.
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