Giouvetsi is a Greek dish that takes its name from a large earthenware dish it is cooked in. Kritharaki is the pasta used which can be small, medium or larger, shaped like rice.
Traditionally the meat was cooked in this earthenware dish in a tomato sauce and when the meat was cooked the pasta was added and cooked in the sauce.
I do not have one of these traditional vessels so I usually cooked the meat in a pressure cooker, which takes around half an hour. I then transfer the meat, together with the sauce in a pyrex, add more water and cook the pasta.
When the dish was cooked I transferred it into a smaller earthenware vessel, added some myzithra on top and baked it for a few minutes.
You can also cook it on the stove top in a regular pot but more time will be need to cook the meat (around 1 hour and 15 minutes) and of course more water will have to be added.
Update: 11 September, 2011
Today I made this dish making a few changes which are worth mentioning. The spiced tomato sauce gave such wonderful flavour to the pasta.
Giouvetsi: Moschari me kritharaki (Veal with orzo)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 1 hour
Serves: 5 – 6
1/2 kilo veal or beef cut in servings (for those of you who like meat, increase quantity)
- 1/3 cup Olive oil or just enough to wet the bottom of your pan
1 medium onion, grated or finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup red dry wine
1 kilo ripe fresh tomatoes or 400 grams tinned whole tomatoes in juice, blended
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons of ketchup or 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 cup water
- Salt and freshly grated black pepper
1 piece of cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp mixed spices
- 3 cups hot water (or more as needed)
500 grams of kritharaki pasta (orzo)
Have the tomatoes blended in a food processor together with tomato paste.
- Wash, cut and drain the meat.
Heat the olive oil and sauté the meat on both sides. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes and then add the garlic and sauté, until translucent.
- Add the wine and cook for a couple of minutes until the alcohol evaporates.
Add salt, pepper, cinnamon stick, mixed spices, tomato and 1 cup of water and cook for ½ hour in the pressure cooker after the valve turns.
- Preheat oven at 180 degrees C / 350 F and when the meat is cooked transfer it into a Pyrex or baking tin and add the hot water.
Add the pasta and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary.
Allow to rest for ten minutes and serve while warm.
- Grate some myzithra cheese on top and serve with feta.
Fresh tomatoes are pealed easily if we put them in hot water for a few seconds and then we blend them in the Multi.
The easiest way to grate the onion is to do it in the Multi with a couple tbsp olive oil, which you reserve from the quantity mentioned in the recipe. This way we save time, effort and avoid tears. Don’t make it look like cream. A few spins are enough.
If tomatoes are tart, add a tablespoon of ketchup or sugar.
Put hot water in the pyrex, you gain about 10 minutes cooking time.
Meat: Use any meat suitable for a stew.
If you cannot find myzithra, substitute with kefalotyri or parmesan.