This meal was always a staple in my house when I was growing up. It’s simple, but the bold flavors make it seem like tons of work was put into the meal! My mom would always make it when I was growing up and this is her recipe. Variations include using cinnamon and mint. Feel free to experiment with those if you want — but I think you’ll find that this recipe is tasty and also a great way to use fresh summery tomatoes!!
I also like that this recipe uses orzo…totally an underrated pasta 🙂
Manestra — Greek Comfort Food
- 2 tbsp. olive oil & 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 medium onion (yellow or white), very finely minced
- 1 lb. ground beef (I used 93% lean — don’t need this to be too greasy)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 14oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp. tomato paste
- 1/4 c. chopped basil
- 1/4 c. chopped parsley
- 1 lb. orzo, cooked al dente
~ In a large saute pan, warm the olive oil and butter. Inhale scent. Repeat.
~ While the oil and butter are warming, start boiling water for the pasta. Cook the orzo al dente and keep it warm.
~ Add the very finely minced onion. To get this effect, I used a small food processor. Because onion is so central to this meal, you don’t really want the pieces to be too large. At this point, add the salt and pepper to taste. I used about 1/2 tsp. of each!
~ Once the onion is slightly browned, add the ground beef. Break it up with a wooden spoon and cook it until it is no longer pink. After the meat is cooked, switch spoons.
~ Add the cherry tomatoes and canned tomatoes. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, feel free to use 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes. Add the tomato paste at this point, too. Stir and watch as this comfort food unfolds. If you want to use a variation, add the cinnamon or mint at this time. I think either would be good in here, but I was trying to stick with my family’s traditional recipe.
~ Pour the orzo into the pan with the meat and sauce. Mix in the chopped herbs. MMMMmmmmm <3
~ Serve in large bowls with a sprinkle of Parmesan or Romano cheese. A little cheese with some extra tang never hurt anyone, amiright?!?
~ Enjoy this hug from a bowl — it truly defines Greek comfort food. See?? Easy!! 🙂