Easy stovetop youvetsi can be made with lamb or beef and small orzo noodles, all cooked together in an aromatic tomato sauce with garlic, oregano, and other comforting Greek flavors! Tips and make-ahead instructions included.
Pat the lamb dry and season with kosher salt and black pepper.
In a large, ceramic braising pan or heavy pan with a lid, heat 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the lamb and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, tossing regularly, until browned. Transfer the lamb to a large plate for now.
In the same pan, add the onions and garlic. Season with kosher salt. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until softened.
Return the lamb to the pan. Add the red wine, oregano, paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg and bay leaf. Cook until the wine has reduced by at least ½, then add 1 cup of water and the tomatoes. Break the tomatoes up using a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the lamb is cooked through.
Stir in the orzo and cover the pan. Let cook for another 20 minutes or until the orzo has cooked through and most of the moister has been absorbed.
Garnish with parsley and crumbled feta, if you like, before serving.
If the orzo is fully cooked, and you still see a lot of liquid in the pot, do not worry as it will continue to absorb the liquid as it sits. Allow 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Make ahead option: You can prepare a portion of this recipe one night in advance. Cook the meat and follow the recipe up to step #3 (but do not add the orzo). Allow the meat to cool and store it in the fridge. The following day, bring the meat back to a boil and add the orzo to cook for 15 to 20 minutes and follow the remaining steps to serve.
Leftovers & storage: Store cooled leftovers in a tight-lid glass container in the fridge for up to 3 days.