Giouvetsi is a typical Sunday dish. It is usually beef cooked with orzo in a clay pot, and one of the horrors of my childhood. I could not stand the slippery texture of it, or the suspicious sense of ‘comfort’ it was supposed to convey.
As a famous greek dish, giouvetsi is of course appreciated by many, but I, as a grown up never looked back or tried to compromise!
So I was reluctant to try this ‘seafood’ giouvetsi, in one of our favourite seafood restaurants. It turned out however that this is a giouvetsi only by name; it tastes more like a risotto.
We have tried to reverse- engineer the recipe and this is the variant we use.
(Adapted from a recipe by Argiro Barbarigou)
For the giouvetsi
- 500g langoustines or shrimps (or both), shelled and deveined
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 carrot (80g), cut into small cubes
- 1 courgette (80g),cut into small cubes
- 1 onion (100g), cut into small cubes
- 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tomatoes (200g), blanched, peeled and pureed
- 1/4 tsp sugar (optional,depending on the acidity of the tomatoes)
- 250g orzo
- 3 cups bisque
- 1 cup warm water (or more if needed)
For the bisque (3 cups)
- heads and shells of langoustines or shrimps
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion (100g), roughly chopped
- 1 carrot (100g), roughly chopped
- 1 celery stick, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2-3 parsley sprigs
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 5 cups warm water
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- parsley, finely chopped for the garnish (optional)
To make the bisque, heat the olive oil in a large and heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add langoustines or/and shrimp heads and shells and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and continue cooking for about 4-5 minutes stirring constantly. Add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute.Add the wine and boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley sprigs, the black peppercorns, 5 cups warm water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer covered for 30 minutes. Set a fine mesh over a large bowl. Strain, discarding all solids and set aside. (Once cool you can keep the bisque in the refrigerator well covered for 2-3 days.)
To make the giouvetsi, heat the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan (we usually use our cast iron wok) over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, onion and courgette and cook stirring all the time for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute stirring constantly.
Add the shelled langoustines or/and shelled shrimps cook for 2 minutes. Add the white wine and let simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove the langoustines or/and shrimps and set aside keeping warm.
Add the orzo in the saucepan with the vegetables and cook stirring all the time for 1 minute, add the the pureed tomatoes and the sugar, if using, and stir for 1 more minute.
Add the bisque and one more cup of water and let simmer over low-medium heat for 10 minutes stirring frequently. If you see that the orzo has absorbed all of the liquid before the 10 minute cooking time add some more water.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add the langoustines or/and shrimps and cook for 2 more minutes.
Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley (if using) and serve immediately.