Minesta (Manestra)

From Wayne's Dusty Box of Words


My heritage on my mother's side has some Greek. I don't recall the details now, but I think 2 generations back. One of the "family" recipes is a casserole they call minesta. Basically a baked lamb shoulder with orzo pasta in a tomato sauce.

I have no idea how close my version is to what my grandmother made. My mother made a couple of changes, as have I. AFAIK, we don't have a written version. In any case, this is one of my comfort foods, something my mother made for me for special occasions.

The biggest change was in the meat, my mother (and maybe others) weren't big fans of meat. It's also an uncommon thing in supermarkets around here. So instead she used chuck roast. Similar flavor and texture, though larger.


  • 2-3 lbs Chuck Roast
  • 1 29 oz. crushed or pureed tomatoes
  • 1 lb. Orzo pasta