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Giouvetsi: Moschari me kritharaki (Veal with orzo)


Moscharaki Giouvetsi is a Greek dish that takes its name from a large earthenware dish called giouvetsi in which it is cooked.   Moscharaki is the Greek word for veal and kritharaki is the orzo pasta which looks like rice and comes in three sizes: small, medium or larger.


This dish is usually cooked with veal but it can be made of course with beef of buffalo meat, or lamb, pork or chicken. The cooking time differs for each kind of meat.  It is cooked in a tomato sauce, spiced with allspice and sometimes cinnamon, cloves or bay leaves.  After the meat is cooked the pasta (usually orzo or hilopites)  is added and cooked in the sauce.

In this recipe, I used “kritharaki” (orzo), which looks like rice but its bigger than rice and  comes in three sizes:   small, medium or large.


I do not have one of these big traditional earthenware dishes but do have some smaller ones.   I usually cook the meat in a pressure cooker, which takes around half an hour and  I then transfer the meat, together with the sauce in smaller earthenware dishes or pyrex,  add more water and cook the pasta.



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 again making a few changes to my original recipe which are worth mentioning.  I have marked the changes in red. 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 and 15 minutes
Serves: 4 – 


  • 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, blended (or 500 grams pummaro, slightly concentrated tomato juice)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 piece of cinnamon stick ‘
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp of my Greek Spice mixture 
  • 5 cups hot water (or more as needed)
  • 500 grams medium or large kritharaki pasta (orzo)


    1. Wash, peel and blend the fresh tomatoes. 
    2. Wash, cut and drain the meat.
    3. Heat the olive oil  in a pot (or pressure cooker) 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.
    4. Add the wine and cook for a couple of minutes until the alcohol evaporates.
    5. Add salt, pepper, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, my spice mixture, tomato paste, fresh tomatoes  and 2 cups of water.  
    6. Bring to a boil, cover pot with the lid and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the meat is tender (or ½ hour in the pressure cooker after the valve turns).
    7. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 F and transfer the cooked  meat with the sauce into a Pyrex or baking tin.  Discard the bay leaf, cinnamon and allspice berries and add the hot water.
    8. Add the pasta and cook for  about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add more water if necessary.
    9. Allow to rest for ten minutes and serve while warm.
    10. Grate some myzithra cheese on top and serve with feta.


Useful Tips:

¤ Fresh tomatoes are pealed easily if make an X cut on the back side an we put them in hot water for a few seconds.

¤ The easiest way to grate the onion is to do it in the Multi moulinette (food processor) with a couple tbsp olive oil, which you reserve from the quantity mentioned in the recipe. A few spins are enough as we don’t want to puree the onion.  This way we save time, effort and avoid tears

¤ You can add any or all of these spices:  cinnamon stick, allspice berries, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper.

¤ If  tomatoes are tart, add a grated carrot or a tablespoon of ketchup or honey in the sauce.

¤ Put hot water in the pyrex, you gain about 10 minutes cooking time.

¤ Meat: Use any meat suitable for a stew.

¤ To cook the orzo, you will need about 1 1/2 cups of fluid (sauce and water), for every 100 grams orzo used,

¤ If you cannot find myzithra, substitute with kefalotyri, halloumi or parmesan.


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!

signature Ivy

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6 Responses

  1. I know I wil like this.. Will definitely try and let you know. We don't get Veal here, so maybe I will use mutton.
    My recent post Fried Hilsa Goodness

    • Ivy

      Hi Tony. Thank you for passing by. I think mutton would be great. You can also make it with beef if you like. Check out the changes I have made.

  2. Sure Ivy, I am sure Beef would also be nice. It would take a couple more whistles on the cooker I guess 🙂
    My recent post Fried Hilsa Goodness

  3. Γιατί μου το κάνεις αυτό??? Εγώ ακόμα στις σαλάτες είμαι… Τρίτη εβδομάδα τώρα. Πάντως η συνταγή είναι τέλεια!!!

  4. I just discovered your website through the Carole’s Chatter linkup and I am glad I did, because I love Greek food, and giouvetsi is one of my favourite dishes 🙂 I’ll have to try this recipe very soon.

  5. Helen

    I am feeling very glad to view your videos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Love veal. These are my favourite dishes …………. I will try this dish very soon!!!