This recipe is a Greek-inspired alternative to spaghetti and meatballs. Flavored with red onion, oregano and a pinch of cumin, the meatballs are par-cooked in the oven, then finished in a simple tomato sauce and served over orzo with a sprinkling of crumbled feta cheese.Print
Greek Meatballs with Orzo and Feta
Served over orzo and topped with crumbled feta cheese, these meatballs are flavored with Greek-style ingredients, baked, then simmered in tomato sauce until tender.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons red onion, very finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 2 cups diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To finish the dish:
- 1/2 lb orzo, cooked (see below)
- 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and coat a shallow baking pan with nonstick spray.
- Place the ground beef, egg, red onion, parsley and breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl. Add the salt, oregano, cumin and black pepper and combine well.
- Form the beef mixture into 1-1/4 inch meatballs (makes about 1 dozen) and arrange them on the prepared baking pan.
- Bake just until browned on the outside, 8 to 10 minutes.
- While the meatballs bake, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the red onion and sauté until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and continue cooking until softened, about 2 minutes longer. Stir in the tomatoes, oregano and cumin and cook for 5 minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the meatballs, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and continue cooking for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- To finish the dish, divide the orzo between 4 plates, top with meatballs and spoon some sauce over each portion. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and fresh parsley and serve immediately.
The Best Way To Cook Orzo
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large (preferably nonstick) skillet over medium heat. Add 8 ounces of dry orzo and stir until thoroughly coated with the oil.
Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until a good portion of the orzo is lightly toasted, 4 to 5 minutes.
Stir in 1-1/2 cups of water or low-sodium chicken broth. Cover, reduce the heat slightly and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes.
Although it will most likely still be too firm, check the orzo for doneness. Add another 1/4 to 1/3 cup of liquid, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed again, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
Repeat the process, adding liquid in 1/4 cup increments until the orzo is al dente. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.