Giouvetsi recipe (Greek Beef stew with Orzo pasta)

Giouvetsi (Greek Beef stew with Orzo pasta)

The perfect dish for a Sunday family dinner! Amazingly tasty and tender! Giouvetsi, or youvetsi is a centuries old dish that was traditionally served as a one-pot meal and in the old days it would have been baked in a home’s wood burning oven.

There were also many instances where a home did not have an oven but each village had at least one bakery supplying bread for the guaranteed demand of the villagers. It was quite common for a family to lug the day’s dish over to the bakery and have dish cooked in the baker’s oven…

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Giouvetsi (Greek Beef stew with Orzo pasta)

Giouvetsi recipe (Greek Beef stew with Orzo pasta)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (713 votes, average: 4.82 out of 5)
  • Author: Eli K. Giannopoulos
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 110 min
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Greek


A traditional Greek Giouvetsi (youvetsi) recipe made with orzo pasta, beef and a delicious tomato sauce. This is the perfect dish for your Sunday family dinner!


  • 1 kg/ 35 ounces veal (shoulder), diced
  • 2 medium red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced (1 cm thick)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g / 14 oz.)
  • 2 tbsps tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 250g orzo pasta (9 ounces) ( kritharaki / manestra )
  • 100g grated kefalotyri or feta cheese (5 ounces)


  1. Wipe the meat with paper towels. Heat 1/2 of a cup of olive oil into a pan, add the chopped onions and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes in medium-low heat. Turn up the heat and add the veal; brown the meat on all sides until crusty.
  2. Stir in the tomato paste, sauté for a minute then pour in the red wine. Wait for the wine to evaporate. Add the tinned tomatoes, the sugar, the cinnamon stick and a good pinch of salt and pepper and enough water to cover the meat.
  3. Turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for about 45 minutes or until the beef is tender and fully cooked. Occasionally stir and top up with water if the sauce starts to dry out.
  4. In the meantime, heat another pan, add 3 tbsps of olive oil and the orzo pasta and sauté, until golden.
  5. Once your meat is done simmering, place the orzo pasta in an oven tray along with the meat and sauce (remove the cinnamon stick) and mix. If needed, add enough water so that the pasta is just covered. Cover the tray with some aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven at 180C for 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil, add a glass of water if needed, and put back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Sprinkle with some grated kefalotyri or any hard yellow cheese and enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 1 plate
  • Calories: 486kcal
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Sodium: 362.4mg
  • Fat: 21.1g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 14.5g
  • Trans Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 38.1g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 35.5g
  • Cholesterol: 79.9mg

Keywords: Giouvetsi recipe, Greek Beef stew with Orzo, Youvetsi

Recipe image gallery:

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  1. That looks great Elaine, so happy to see that there’s plenty of foodies spreading the word on the secrets behind the delicious Greek cuisine!



  2. Eli, can this be cone in a slow cooker- adding the orzo towards the end of cooking time?

    • Eli K. Giannopoulos

      Of course you can make Giouvetsi in a slow cooker. Personally I love my orzo to be a oven baked, so ideally I’d move the cooked meat from the slow cooker to a roaster/oven dish, add the orzo and finish it in the oven

  3. I love it !!!

  4. This recipe is very similar to beef/veal kokkinisto, am I wrong? The difference is that for giouvetsi you cook the meat and pasta together

    • Eli K. Giannopoulos

      Absolutely correct, they are both very similar! Having the meat juices soak through the pasta though gives them an amazing flavour!

  5. When beaf is involved I always cook the meat beforehand. When the meat is almost done, then I proceed with the actual recipe, put the meat and the pasta in the sauce and cook it for another 15 minutes or so, until the pasta is ready.

  6. Don Whyte

    I start mine off in a slow cooker then when cooked I transfer it to a pan on the stove top. Add stock and Orzo and simmer until the pasta is tender. It’s my go to meal if catering for guests. Only ever had compliments..

  7. David Walgate

    Can I prepare the dish up to stage 3 the day before ?

    • Eli K. Giannopoulos

      Yes indeed you can. Make sure when cooking it the next day that you add about 30 minutes or so to the cooking time to allow for the ingredients to warm up from being cold in the fridge.

  8. What kind of beef should I use and how should I cook it?

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