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  Baked orzo with vegetables (Youvetsi Me Lakhanika)




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Baked Orzo with Vegetables
1 generous cup / 250ml Greek extra virgin olive oil 
1 large onion, finely shopped 
3 tomatoes, skinned and finely diced 
1 stick celery, finely sliced 
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced 
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped 
4 cups / 500g kritharaki 
8 - 12 keftedakia 
1 3/4 cups / 200g crumbled sheep's milk cheese 
Freshly ground pepper 
Pre heat the oven to 350F (180C). Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onions and garlic until softened. Add the tomatoes, celery, and bell pepper, then season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and cook the vegetables for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the orzo. Half fill a high-sided flameproof dish with the vegetable and noodle mixture, top up with hot water, and stir. Bake in a preheated oven for about 1 hour. Shortly before the end of the cooking time, top with the keftedes and the crumbled sheep's milk cheese and leave in the oven for a few minutes to brown. Serve straight from the dish while still hot.

excerpts from: "Culinaria Greece" , by Marianthi Minola

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