Manestra With Keftedes and Kofta Makaronia

This Greek meatball dish has to be one of my dad’s favourites and now that I’m adult, it’s one of mine.

Keftedes are a Greek meatball/burger and although the spices and herbs may vary from home to home, it’s basically of ground mince, grated onion, soaked bread and spices.

This dish falls in the Manestra category of Greek dishes. It’s culinary cousin is a Giouvestsi (which is done in the oven) but here, everything’s done on the stovetop. Some folks like a thick sauce, others a little soupier. Some folks like orzo, here we use Kofta Makaronia (Ditalini). The dish is often made with braised poultry, lamb or veal.

I’ve always been a big fan of dishes that are “so simple yet taste so great”. This is another such dish.

Manestra With Keftedes and Kofta Makaronia

Keftedes recipe

2 lbs. of lean ground beef
1 onion, grated

2 slices of white bread
(soaked in water or milk, then squeezed of liquid)
2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

1 egg, beaten

salt & pepper to taste

1/4 cup olive oil
flour for dusting

3 cups of chicken or beef boullion

1 medium onion, diced

1 sweet banana pepper, fine dice

1 cup of strained tomato passata

1 package of kofta makaronia (ditalini)

salt and pepper to taste

grated Kefalotyri cheese

  1. In a bowl, mix all of your Keftedes ingredients with your hands. Your mixture should stick and easily form meatballs. Adjust with some oil if too dry, add some more soaked bread if too wet. Fry-off or microwave a small meatball to taste-test. Adjust seasoning according to taste. Form into palm-sized meatballs and then flatten into patties. Dust in flour and reserve.
  2. In a large pot, add your olive oil to medium-high heat and brown your keftedes in batches, reserve.
  3. In the same pot, add some stock and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add your onions and peppers and saute for 5-7 minutes to soften.
  4. Pour in the tomato sauce, your remaining stock, keftedes and pasta and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes or until you’ve reached your sauce’s desired consistency. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve with grated Kefalotyri cheese (Romano).

© 2008,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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52 Comments for “Manestra With Keftedes and Kofta Makaronia”

Katerina

says:

Peter this is right up my alley! I love simple comfort food that tastes amazing. The next time I am craving bolognese I will have to make this instead.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Oh yes, Peter now we’re talking. I am a great meatball fan especially if done on the stove top, almost like slow braising…

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Oh yes, Peter now we’re talking. I am a great meatball fan especially if done on the stove top, almost like slow braising…

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Oh yes, Peter now we’re talking. I am a great meatball fan especially if done on the stove top, almost like slow braising…

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Oh yes, Peter now we’re talking. I am a great meatball fan especially if done on the stove top, almost like slow braising…

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Oh yes, Peter now we’re talking. I am a great meatball fan especially if done on the stove top, almost like slow braising…

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Oh yes, Peter now we’re talking. I am a great meatball fan especially if done on the stove top, almost like slow braising…

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Oh yes, Peter now we’re talking. I am a great meatball fan especially if done on the stove top, almost like slow braising…

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Oh yes, Peter now we’re talking. I am a great meatball fan especially if done on the stove top, almost like slow braising…

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Oh yes, Peter now we’re talking. I am a great meatball fan especially if done on the stove top, almost like slow braising…

Ferdzy

says:

Yum, yum, yum! Meatballs and pasta! I love it! Fast and esy too by the look of it.

Peter G

says:

Aaaahh!..Manestra…another favourite for me as well. I love the “giouvetsi” version in the oven with any kind of meat. True comfort food!

Heather

says:

Wow. That looks really effing good. You can’t get that out of a box, that’s for sure.

Helene

says:

This time I knew what Keftedes was. When we make meatballs, in Quebec, we serve them with gravy and mashed potatoes. It’s a traditional dish during the holidays.

Toni

says:

Peter – This is soooo way above meatballs and spaghetti! I love the idea of cooking the pasta right in the sauce – genius!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy

says:

Wow! This looks really great! I could definitely get into it! Well done!

sher

says:

Wonderful! I love meatbalss, so that has my taste buds doing a merry dance. I made mushroom balls, then discovered a Greek recipe for them that I must try.

"ζαχαρούλα.."

says:

TO AGAPIMENO MOU……

FILIA POLLA POLLA APO THN ELLADA!!!!

8A ER8EIS TO KALOKAIRI NA BOLTAROUME STA NHSIA????

MARIOS

says:

Kalimera
Panta me wraia piata,wraies ellinikes geyseis.
Se perimenoume sto blog mas gia mousikes.

Dharm

says:

Ahh Peter! I love meatballs myself. Those look absolutely huge and lovely. Reminds me of the sort I used to get in a Greek Deli when I was at Uni in Australia. Superb stuff!

Sylvie

says:

I love meatballs in any shape or form and if they’re Greek even better! I’ll give you some of my orzo salad if I can come round next time you make these!

Peter M

says:

Kat, you’ll love this dish…set it & forget it and nurse that bottle of wine!

Marc, it’s all gone.

Nina, exactly…it’s a braise.

Ferdzy, easy-peasy, tasty!

Pete, I love both the giouvetsi and manestra…depends on my mood.

LOL @ Heather…Kraft can’t pull off this stuff!

Helene, I hope you show us more Quebecois cuisine.

Toni, glad you’re taken by this dish, I hope you’ll try it.

Sticky, this SO hit the spot last night.

Kevin, more tasty than simple!

Axx Zaxaroula…I’ll be in Greece from August to early Sept., email me for details.

Geia sou Mario kai efharisto poli!

Dharm, glad to have triggered a fond memory for you!

Sylvie,that sounds like a deal!

Sylvia

says:

Wow Peter . This dish looks great. Reminds a Italian dish with Polpeta di Carne, but with most flavor and spicy

taste memory

says:

I’ve been eating less meat lately, but I’d break out real fast for those meatballs~you’re recipe sounds perfect and I’m sure renders a perfectly tender meatball. Love that kinda pasta too-the ditalini looks slightly larger than I’ve seen be4 + very tasty.

glamah16

says:

A amnly dish for the Boner Man. Seriously this looks damn good.My CS loves his meatballs too.

kittie

says:

mmmm… pasta and meatballs – what’s not to like! Simple often is better obviously :)

I know you don’t really do this sort of this, but I’ve passed on the Arte y Pico award to you :)

Sam Sotiropoulos

says:

A hearty and tasty dish! Easy to make, tasty, and filling… what more can anybody want? Well done, Peter!

Peter M

says:

Sylvia, many Greek & Italian dishes are similar and I love all Mediterranean food.

T-memory, what’s a few meatballs in the diet, eh? As for ditalini, they come in various sizes.

Ahhh Glam, you inspire the bone in this man! lol

Kittie, the KISS principle is firmly in place here and…TA for your kind award.

Gloria, thanks for dropping by…I’ll be at your site soon!

Sam, all I want is a Greek beach, calm and my health.

Maryann

says:

It’s so Italian like! haha I love it! Hey, I watched “MY Big Fat Greek Wedding” last night and thought of you! It’s such a fun film.I like when the father introduces his family..”There’s Nick, and Nick, and over there is Nick etc”

Patricia Scarpin

says:

I feel like diving a fork into this dish right now, Pete. And I don’t even eat beef. :)

Sandie (Inn Cuisine)

says:

Ok…this is being fit into our weekend menu. Would you believe I never make any type of meatball on a recurring basis? I just never think of them, but this, this looks so darn appetizing.

Chuck

says:

I love the meatballs or anything Greek. The perfect comfort food to enjoy with the family. Very nice!

Rosie

says:

I just adore meatballs and these look pure comfort food and so very appetising!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

says:

Beautiful! I’ve never met a meatball I didn’t love. I might bake these instead of fry them.

winedeb

says:

Too funny, I had meatballs last night for dinner, but mine do not sound as good as yours! And using that little pasta looks better than speghetti! Must give this a try!

Peter M

says:

Maryann, I love when the Greek mom replies about the future in-laws being vegetarian…”It’s OK, we’re eating lamb”! lol

Aw Patricia, it’s time to hop on the beef bandwagon.

Mona, you’re very welcome, enjoy!

Sandie, think of meatballs like sausages…the possibilities are endless.

Chuck, thanks for a resounding YES to Greek food!

Rosie, as comforting as Linus’ blue blanket.

Jan, no worries…welcome back.

Lydia, I sometimes bake meatballs too.

Deb, I’m on a mince meat kick of late.

RecipeGirl

says:

What’s tomato passata? And a banana pepper? What’s that?

Those noodles look HUGE (is it the picture?) This looks like quite the comforting meal.

Peter M

says:

Lori, passata is Italian. Think a can of plum tomatoes that have been pureed then strained…thick.

As for the pasta, they are fingernail sized…it’s the deceiving photo!

Mochachocolata Rita

says:

i need some comforting after a badddd meeting…courier this over plzzzz……T_T

canarygirl

says:

Peterrrrr! What time should I be at your place for dinner? I’ll bring the mousse!

Cakelaw

says:

This looks absolutely fab – very hearty. I assume that the fat pasta is the ditalini? Sweet banana pepper is a new one! I’m sure that Safeway won’t stock it.

Núria

says:

This is such a complete dish with your cute makaronia surrounding the meatballs!

Peter M

says:

Shandy, it was gobbled up in no time.

Rita, have a bowl of this…to cheer you up!

Nikki, you’re welcome anytime..no invite needed.

Cake, yes..that’s the ditalini.

Nuria, cute makaronia it is!

Elly

says:

Oooh, I love manestra and I love keftedes, but I have (obviously stupidly!) never thought to combine them. So noted :)

Lori Lynn

says:

What I especially love in this dish is the proportions – the size of the meatballs and the shape of the pasta. This is an extraordinary combination.

Cassandra

says:

Fantastic dish! I’ve just discovered your blog recently & I love that you include all these dishes that we greeks just eat at home all the time…