Greek Traditional Pasta Beef Casserole (Giouvetsi)
Giouvetsi is one of the most popular Greek traditional dishes. It's an oven-baked dish, made with pasta and meat (beef, chicken or lamb), usually baked in a ceramic or pyrex baking dish. The most commonly used pasta for this type of recipe is orzo (called kritharaki in Greek).
Another traditional pasta used is hilopites (short-cut tagliatelle/fettuccine) or hilopitaki (Greek quadrettini). You can use any short-cut or small type of pasta you prefer though.
The recipe we suggest for Giouvetsi, is made with beef and orzo. It's an amazing Greek casserole and a typical Greek comfort food.
Giouvetsi is one of those delicious Sunday lunch Greek casseroles, just like the all-time favorite moussaka, or the baked shrimp with tomatoes and feta (garides saganaki), the gemista (Greek stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers), the roast lamb and the large baked beans (Gigandes/Gigantes plaki).
But let's see how this delicious baked beef recipe can be prepared. Don't be alarmed by the time needed;most of the cooking time it is the baking stage, in the oven, so it's actually pretty quite quick and easy to make the giouvetsi.
- 600gr (21oz) beef (chuck/neck), cut in thick pieces (4-5cm/1.5-2in)
- 250gr (8.8oz) orzo
- 300gr (10.6oz) fresh tomato, grated (or canned)
- 120gr (4.2oz) (1 medium sized) onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 125ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
- 125ml (1/2 cup) white wine
- 300ml (1 1/4 cup) water
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste (70gr/2.5oz)
- 1 pinch of cinammon
- salt and pepper
Pour the olive oil in a medium sized non-stick frying pan and put it on medium to high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the beef and the onion and saute for 4 minutes (give it a vigorous stir). Empty the pan contents into a pyrex or ceramic medium sized baking pan (or casserole) (34cm / 13in). Make sure to include the oil from the pan.
Add the garlic, the tomato, the tomato paste, the wine, the bay leaves and the water, stir and cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
Put it in a preheated oven, at 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) on the middle rack and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Then, remove the foil from the baking dish, add the orzo, stir and put it back in the oven (without the foil). Bake for 20 more minutes.
Serve with fresh bread and feta cheese on the side (or you can sprinkle some grated feta on top). Kali oreksi!
1. Besides beef, you can also use other types of meat, like chicken, lamb, goat or even pork. In the Greek islands, this dish is also made with seafood, like octopus and is also amazing! Naturally, according to the meat used, you must adjust the cooking time, as the chicken for example needs less time to be cooked, and the lamb takes more time.
2. Instead of white wine, you can also use red wine, resulting a slightly different and intense taste.
3. If you don't have orzo, you can also use any small type of pasta.
4. Feta is probably the best cheese for this dish, but you can also serve it with anthotyros or mizithra which are Greek types of Ricotta and Pecorino respectively.
5. If you prefer your casseroles with a cheesy crust, then you can add some grated Dubliner or any other suitable melting cheese before you 're finished baking. However, since this is a traditional dish, adding some grated feta when serving it, is more than enough!