Youvetsi (Traditional Greek Orzo Bake)


If you are looking for an authentic dish from Greece, this recipe is for you! I grew up eating this, one of my favorite meals! It's usually made with veal or lamb stew meat but my family has always used chicken, which is delicious! You can use whichever you prefer! Either way this baked orzo dish will melt in your mouth! It may sound like a lot of work, but the preparation is very little! The majority of it is cooking time!

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
10 servings


  • ½ cup olive oil

  • 3 pounds cubed lamb stew meat

  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, pureed in a food processor

  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

  • ½ teaspoon white sugar

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • ½ cup butter

  • 1 pound uncooked orzo pasta

  • 3 cups hot water


  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook meat until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add pureed tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  3. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat and add the orzo. Saute until slightly brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer orzo to a baking pan, spreading it out evenly. Remove meat from the saucepan and place on top of the orzo. Pour tomato sauce evenly over meat. Add hot water. Cover with aluminum foil.

  4. Bake in the preheated oven until all water is absorbed and orzo is soft, about 1 hour. If the dish becomes too dry, add more water during baking.

Cook's Note:

You can use veal stewing meat or chicken parts (legs, thighs, or breast with bone) instead of the lamb.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

576 Calories
35g Fat
38g Carbs
27g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 576
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 35g 45%
Saturated Fat 15g 73%
Cholesterol 110mg 37%
Sodium 235mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 27g
Vitamin C 8mg 39%
Calcium 52mg 4%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 351mg 7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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