Chicken with Manestra

Kota me Manestra (Chicken with rice-shaped pasta)

Delicious, tender chicken, baked in a tomato sauce seasoned with a hint of cinnamon. Add the distinctively shaped pasta called “manestra” for a wonderful taste treat.

Simply Delicious Greek Cooking: Episode 12: Kota me Manestra


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped  
  • 2-3 lbs. chicken pieces (enough for 4-6 servings)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1-teaspoon oregano
  • 1-teaspoon salt
  • 4-5 cups hot water or chicken broth
  • 1-pound Manestra/Orzo (3/4 pound if making only 4 servings)
  • Pepper to taste


Kota me Manestra
Kota me Manestra
  1. Heat frying pan and add oil.
  2. Brown chicken pieces in frying pan; set aside. 
  3. Sauté onion and garlic in same frying pan.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  5. Put the chicken, onions, garlic, and carrots in a roasting pan.
  6. Combine 2 cups hot water or broth with the tomato paste, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oregano, and salt in frying pan; blend well.
  7. Add tomato mixture to roasting pan.
  8. Bake covered for about 20 minutes.
    1. Variation: Cook on stovetop. Stir orzo frequently to keep it from sticking to bottom of pan.
  9. Add 2-3 cups of the remaining water or broth and orzo; mix well with the juices.
  10. Bake covered for another 20-30 minutes until orzo is just tender (al dente). Do NOT overcook. *
  11. Check after 10-15 minutes. Add more salt and, f necessary, hot water or broth as the orzo cooks.
  12. Do NOT bake until dry; orzo should have some sauciness.
  13. Adjust seasonings.
  14. Serve with Parmesan cheese and dollops of plain, unsweetened yogurt.