Beef Giouvetsi is a traditional Greek dish of beef and orzo pasta. Cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce that's thick and glazy like risottos'.
Traditionally, this dish is cooked first on the stovetop and then finished off in the oven. Like in Lamb Giouvetsi for example.
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But since in this recipe, we are using boneless beef which is a piece of meat that doesn't contain as much fat in order to keep it tender through baking, we're skipping the baking altogether. And instead, this Beef Giouvetsi is made on the stovetop. So it's less fussy and much quicker to make.
In fact, it takes just about 1 hour and 30 minutes to make this dish.
Ingredients To Make Giouvetsi
To make Giouvetsi you need meat, orzo pasta, tomato paste, and canned tomatoes or fresh grated tomatoes. Plus some wine and beef or vegetable stock and a few seasonings like allspice, bay leaves, and (I'm also using) sweet paprika and a pinch of nutmeg.
Type Of Meat To Make Giouvetsi
In Greece, we make Giouvetsi with any meat really. You can make it using lamb, beef, pork, or even chicken. The meat can be bone-in or boneless. Bone-in meat is mostly used for baked Giouvetsi.
In this recipe, we are using boneless beef cut into small cubes. This ensures the meat gets cooked more quickly. And since it's a cut of meat that's great for stewing it's more than ideal for this recipe.
Beef Cuts To Use: Boneless beef chuck, chuck roll, or flatiron cut are all great cuts to use to make beef Giouvetsi. As they don't contain much fat but turn out really tender when slowly stewed/simmered.
QUICK TIP: To make the most tender meat, marinate it for 2 hours (at room temperature) in a 1:1 ratio brine of lukewarm water and red wine.
Orzo is a type of toothsome, rice-shaped pasta that's used to make thick saucy dishes like this one. On the stovetop, it takes about the same time as rice to cook, 20 minutes more or less. While, when baked in the oven can take up to 40 minutes depending on temperature and available liquid.
In Greece, there are three Orzo sizes. It's thin, medium-sized, and large Orzo. The first one is used only in soups. While the other two are used in various types of dishes. To make Giouvetsi you can use either medium or large Orzo.
Manestra is the traditional, simplest way of cooking Orzo. In one pot with a lightly spiced tomato sauce. Speedy, simple, and yummy!
This recipe calls for medium-sized orzo because it's more al-dente. And it's cooked in such a fashion that's like a sticky rice dish. If you want it to be more pasta-like go for a large orzo. I don't know If I make much sense the way I am describing it. But I sure hope so!
NOTE: One thing to keep in mind about Orzo is that it thickens a lot. Even when you remove it from heat, it keeps absorbing moisture, getting thicker and thicker. So to enjoy a saucy dish, it is best served right away.
What To Serve With Giouvetsi
Giouvetsi is served topped either with grated Kefalotyri, Kefalograviera, or crumbled Feta cheese. You can also serve it with some green olives on the side. A vinegar coleslaw like this one also goes great with this dish.
Beef Giouvetsi (Beef Orzo Pasta)
- 550 grams (19.4 ounce) beef chuck, chuck roll, or flatiron cut cut into 3 cm (1.2-inch) cubes
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 50 grams (½ small) red onion minced
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 40 ml red wine
- 180 grams (6.3 oz) whole peeled canned tomatoes you can use fresh tomatoes instead
- 250 ml beef or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 200 grams (1 cup) orzo pasta
- Optional: grated Kefalotyri cheese to serve with
- Add the canned tomatoes to a small food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.If using fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones simply remove the stems and blend the same way.
- Pat dry the meat with paper towels. Season with salt, pepper, ground allspice, and pinch of nutmeg. Rub the seasonings all around the meat.
- Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the meat and brown on all sides.
- Drop the heat to medium and stir in the onions. Cook for a minute stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the bottom as you go.
- Add the tomato paste and cook stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes for the paste to caramelize.
- Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan. Wait for a minute for the alcohol to evaporate. Then stir in the blended tomatoes.
- Pour in the stock along with 2 cups of boiling water. Add also the bay leaves and paprika. Wait until it starts to simmer then put the lid on and turn the heat to low.
- Simmer for about 1 hour or until the meat feels tender enough.
- Then add 2 extra cups of boiling water, season with salt and pepper, and add the orzo. Put the lid back on and continue simmering for 20 minutes more. Stirring occassionally so the pasta won't stick to the bottom.
- If the pasta is still too al dente add an extra splash of water (about ¼ cup) and remove the pan from heat. The orzo will keep absorbing the water while it sits. So give it a minute or two of resting time and ideally serve right away with some grated cheese on top.
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Can I add a cinnamon stick while this is cooking?
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Sure you can!