Arni Youvetsi (Lamb and Orzo)

Total Time
2hrs 20mins
Prep 20 mins
Cook 2 hrs

This is a traditional 'Sunday Lunch' dish. The orzo (a kind of pasta that is shaped like large grains of rice) cooks in the liquid released by the lamb and tomato and becomes very tasty. Many make it with a cut of beef suitable for roasting, cut into large pieces, or even with chicken pieces.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preaheat oven to 375F (190C).
  2. Wash and pat dry the leg of lamb. In a large baking pan (if you have an earthenware casserole - even better!), rub lamb with the lemon juice and olive oil over. Season generously with salt, pepper, oregano and thyme. Pour in wine, water, tomato puree, minced onion, garlic and cinnamon around meat. Give the sauce a stir and roast, turning meat over occasionally when you see a crust forming (to brown all sides) for 2 to 3 hours (note: Greeks like their lamb well-done, if you prefer a shorter cooking time, cook to your personal preference).
  3. In a large saucepan, bring plenty of water to the boil, salt generously and boil the orzo pasta for 8 minutes. Remove and drain - retain a cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the lamb casserole and give everything a stir to distribute orzo throughout the pan.
  4. Increase heat to 400F (200C) and continue to bake another 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is fully cooked and has absorbed most of the liquid in the pan (it should still be fairly 'juicy' - not dry). If the pasta is too dry, stir in enough of the pasta cooking water you've retained to keep it saucy.
  5. Have lots of freshly-grated parmesan or kefalotiri cheese to sprinkle over pasta at table.


Most Helpful

Awsome Orzo Evelyn! It brought back memories from my childhood. Made exactly as stated - the lamb was definitely well time I will reduce time by 20 minutes for a bit of pinkness. Thank you so much for sharing

Catherine Robson February 20, 2009

Just like Yaya's! I used this recipe a couple of times, once with leg of lamb and the other with Lamb Shanks... (Both Excellent)went a bit heavier on the lemon and used an extra clove of Garlic... My family went nuts!!!

Mikes Philadelphia Kitchen October 28, 2007

This was made for Sunday dinner but with some changes. The garlic, lemon juice and oregano were increased, absolutely delicious Evelyn, we really enjoyed this lamb dish, thanks for sharing!...Kitten:)

Kittencal@recipezazz May 21, 2006

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