Yiouvetsi me Kima Arnisio: Ground Lamb With Orzo Pasta - Yiouvetsi

Orzo pasta
Paul Grossman / Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
385 Calories
20g Fat
26g Carbs
25g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 385
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 77mg 26%
Sodium 980mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 10%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 12mg 59%
Calcium 74mg 6%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 700mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In Greek: γιουβέτσι με κιμά αρνίσιο, say: yoo-VET-see meh kee-MAH ar-NEE-seeyoh

Yiouvetsi dishes are most often made with chunks of meat—beef and lamb are the most popular, but this recipe with ground lamb is a delight and easier on the budget.

Yiouvetsi is a type of pot used in Greece, but this can be made in any oven-proof baking dish or pan.

The recipe calls for the traditional kritharaki (orzo pasta) but works well with other types of pasta.


  • 1 pound ground lamb

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 medium white onion, or yellow, finely chopped

  • 1 1/2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans chopped or crushed tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta, or other small pasta

  • 4 cups boiling hot chicken broth, or stock

  • Sea salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste, optional

  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

  • Grated kefalograviera, or other hard salty cheese, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Over medium heat, brown the lamb in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, using a fork to separate the meat out into small pieces. (Note: because ground lamb is softer than ground beef, take care not to mash it when breaking it up.)

  2. When meat is browned just to the point where it doesn't look red, transfer to a colander and drain.

  3. Over medium heat, sauté chopped onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

  4. When the onion turns translucent, stir in drained lamb, tomatoes, 1/2 cup of water, celery, bay leaf, 1 rounded teaspoon of sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

  5. When it reaches a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 20 minutes.

  6. Taste and add more salt and pepper to your preference.

  7. In a saucepan, bring chicken broth or stock to a boil.

  8. Preheat the oven to 390 F (200 C).

  9. Remove bay leaf, and transfer the meat mixture to a greased baking or oven-safe casserole dish.

  10. Add boiling stock or broth and stir in the pasta.

  11. Cook uncovered in the oven at 390 F / 200 C for about 40 minutes, until the pasta is done and almost the liquid has been absorbed. Stir once or twice during cooking.

  12. Remove pot from the oven and cover with a cotton towel for 20 minutes (to absorb excess moisture).

  13. Stir in the fresh parsley just before serving, and add an optional topping of grated cheese.

Alternative With Ground Beef: Leave out the celery, bay leaf, chicken broth or stock, and substitute with 4 to 5 whole cloves, 1 stick of cinnamon, and beef broth.

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