Recipe Submitted by Stacey in Greece
Greek cuisine is one of the best in the world, so if you learn to make this traditional meal, where the orzo pasta is the main star, you will enjoy a delicious recipe that will satisfy everyone’s taste buds!
This is a meal you need to try, we promise!
To prepare this traditional dish of Greek cuisine first you must know how to cook orzo, so you’ll have a greater chance of nailing a delicious result.
Manestra is a dish based on orzo pasta, which is cooked in tomato sauce, although there is a variety where minced meat is added. It is a dish that families used to
prepare in the 50s, since it only uses affordable ingredients, and it’s very easy to make. Manestra is a dish with many similarities to risotto, so it can be served as a main meal, either at lunch or dinner, accompanied by crumbled feta cheese on top, or even as a side dish for meat-based meals. This preparation is one of the most popular in Greek cuisine, so if you want to enjoy a traditional meal that is centuries old, and which laid the foundation of Mediterranean cuisine’s use of fresh ingredients, herbs, aromatic spices and olive oil, then you should try this recipe at home and surprise your family or friends.
How is Manestra made?
The recipe can be prepared in just five minutes and takes another 25 minutes of cooking time. It’s so easy that you do not need to be a chef or spend a lot of time making this Greek delicacy.
A finely chopped red onion.
A clove of garlic (chopped).
8 oz of medium-sized orzo pasta.
7 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
5 tablespoons of tomato paste.
2.5 fl oz (75 ml) of red wine.
Three medium ripe tomatoes.
2/3 teaspoon sugar.
Six pieces of Jamaican pepper.
Two dried bay leaves.
Crumbled feta cheese, although this ingredient is optional, using it enhances
the dish flavor and presentation.
1 qt (1 liter) of hot water, vegetable or meat broth.
Method of preparation
1. Grate the tomatoes on a medium-coarse grater. Tomato skins will not be
used, so you may discard them.
2. In a large-sized saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
3. Add the onion and sauté for a minute, stir constantly taking care not to burn
it. Add the chopped garlic and cook until both ingredients caramelize and
4. Lower the heat to medium, pour the orzo pasta and let it cook for about one
minute. Add the grated tomatoes and the tomato paste and stir for a couple
of minutes, so that the orzo cooks well.
5. Pour the red wine and cook until it stops smelling of alcohol, an indication
that it evaporated completely. Put in the grated tomatoes and cook for two
minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss some dried bay leaves,
pepper, and sugar to the preparation.
7. Pour the hot water or broth of your choice slowly, stirring as you pour, and
using a wooden spoon. From that moment, orzo pasta will quickly absorb the
broth or hot water, so you should let it cook for about 15 minutes until it is al
dente. Try not to exceed this time, or it will become too soft.
8. When you finish adding all the water or stock, and the orzo pasta is cooked al
dente, remove the saucepan from the heat, and let rest for several minutes.
The orzo must settle to absorb more of the preparation sauce. Don’t worry if
it does not look as thick as you expect, it is completely normal.
9. After this resting time, you can serve the orzo with a lot of freshly ground
pepper, and add feta cheese on top if you want.
Now you can already enjoy a traditional Greek recipe, with a delicious flavor and subtle aroma that can be served alone, or as a side dish with beef, pork or lamb. As you’ve seen, preparation does not take long, and the ingredients can all be easily found in grocery stores.
Next time, if you want to surprise your loved ones with a delicious Greek cuisine meal, then Manestra is the best option.