Giouvetsi (Roast Lamb with Orzo)
Any kind of meat, poultry, or pasta can be used to make Giouvetsi. Greeks generally use lamb and the rice-shaped pasta, orzo.
6 cloves garlic
3 lbs. boneless shoulder or leg of lamb
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2-3 cups chicken, veal, or beef stock
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small fresh chili pepper, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 28-ounce can tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 lb. orzo (Greek rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup grated mizithra, Pecorino, or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
Peel 3 cloves of garlic and cut into slivers. Remove as much visable fat from lamb as you can. Cut slits in all sides of lamb and insert garlic pieces. Place lamb in a deep baking dish. Rub with lemon juice, brush with a little olive oil, and rub with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue roasting for about 40 minutes or until internal tempertaure tests 125 degrees F., basting occasionally with pan juices. (If there isn't enough juice, use some of the stock.)
Heat remaining olive oil in a skillet, and saute the onion until soft. Mince remaining garlic, and add it to the onion, along with chile pepper, tomatoes, mint, rosemary, sugar, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
Remove lamb from oven and set aside on platter. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Pour boiling tomato sauce into the baking dish. Add 2 cups stock and the orzo, and stir again. Return to the oven and cook 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes, to keep the orzo from sticking. Add more stock if necessary.
Place lamb on top of the orzo, and return to oven. Continue roasting until the lamb and orzo are cooked to your taste. Use a meat thermometer to test lamb for doneness. Figure 140 degrees F. for rare and 155 degrees F. for medium. (Remember lamb will continue to cook if allowed to stand after removing from oven.)
Sprinkle with cheese before serving.
Serves 4 to 6.