Manestra: Savoring the Tradition of Greek Orzo Soup

 Manestra, also known as Greek orzo soup, is a traditional dish that has been enjoyed in Greece for ages. It's a simple yet delicious soup that's perfect for any occasion, from a cozy family dinner to a large gathering with friends.

The main ingredient in manestra is orzo pasta, which is a type of short-cut pasta that's shaped like rice. It's cooked in a rich tomato-based broth that's flavored with herbs and spices like oregano, thyme, and bay leaves. The soup is typically finished with a sprinkling of grated cheese, which adds a delicious salty note to the dish.

Manestra is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit your taste. You can add vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions to the broth, or throw in some protein like chicken or beef. You can also make it vegetarian or vegan by using vegetable broth and omitting the cheese.

One of the great things about manestra is that it's easy to make. You don't need any special skills or equipment, and it can be whipped up in under an hour. Plus, it's a great dish to make ahead of time and reheat later, making it perfect for busy weeknights.

If you're looking for a comforting and satisfying meal that's packed with flavor, give manestra a try. It's a classic dish that's sure to become a family favorite! 

Manestra (Greek Orzo Soup)

Manestra - Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Manestra - How to Make

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the oregano, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the orzo pasta to the pot and stir to coat in the oil and spices.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes and chicken or vegetable broth to the pot and bring to a simmer.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the orzo is tender.
  6. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve the soup hot, topped with grated mizithra cheese, if desired.

You can customize this manestra recipe by adding vegetables like carrots, celery, and bell peppers, or protein like chicken or beef. Simply add these ingredients to the pot along with the onions and garlic. If you like soups, you should try this avgolemono soup. Enjoy!