Manestra is a humble one-pot dish common throughout Greece. At its most simple, it’s just orzo (in Greek called kitharaki) in tomato sauce. You can make that sauce from tomato paste or with canned or fresh tomatoes (wait till they’re in season). But you can also dress it up a bit and make it heartier with a little chicken or other meat. That’s what I’ve done here, because that’s how I remember eating it.
This Mushroom Pasta recipe is a riff on one of my favorites that I developed for Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook. The dish was based off one I had in Athens, using pasta and mushrooms from Crete where my family roots are from. It’s an umami bomb that combines meaty wild mushrooms with cheese and a little cream/Greek yogurt. In this recipe, I’m also suggesting adding saffron, which plays off the richness with more nuance and depth of flavor. It’s optional, but I highly recommend it. Cooking it all in one pot makes the process seamless and clean up is easy when you’re done.
This summer I had the exciting opportunity to travel to Greece’s island of Evia, even though I never left Los Angeles. Travel Evia reached out to me to develop a recipe based on some of the island’s most prized ingredients. That’s how this recipe for local Kourkoubines Pasta with Figs and Honey was born.
I’m currently getting ready to head off to Greece, and one thing I always look forward to when I’m there is indulging in Astakomakaronada: Greek lobster pasta. You can find the dish all over the islands in the summer, and when it’s done well it’s worth the hefty price tag. Read on to find out how I make this delicious recipe.