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Lamb with Pasta in the Oven

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Crete

A simple, hearty, traditional (insanely) delicious recipe from Crete, Greece requiring no particular preparation and… very little cooking skills. Of course you can tweak the recipe with more/other spices, but if you’re cooking this recipe for the first time try to keep it simple.

Serves 6 – 8
Cooking time: 120 min


  • 1 to 1 + 1/2 Kg (2 – 3 Lbs) of lamb. The cut should be a leg with bone.
  • 1 pack of pasta. You can use fettuccine, orzo, maccheroni, caciarecce or any kind of pasta you have in the pantry.
  • 4 fresh tomatoes.
  • 4 – 5 onions.
  • 3 to 4 cloves of garlic.
  • 2 glasses (cups) of hot water.
  • Oregano, salt & pepper to taste


  1. Start the oven at 200C / 390F. While the oven is heating up:
  2. Wash the meat.
  3. Wash the tomatoes.
  4. Clean the garlic cloves. Do NOT dice.
  5. Cut the onions lengthwise, into ribbons. Do NOT dice.
  6. With a knife, make some incisions to the meat near the bone.
  7. Insert the garlic cloves in the slots.
  8. In a little bowl mix salt, pepper and oregano – to your taste. (You don’t need a lot of salt, because lamb is salty by nature.)
  9. Sprinkle the mix all around the meat.
  10. Take a pan. Then:
  11. Put the meat in the middle
  12. Arrange the onions around it.
  13. Add the pasta on top of the onion.
  14. Put the tomatoes in, two on one side of the meat, and two on the other side. (If the pan is round, arrange the tomatoes like a cross.)
  15. Pour two cups of hot water in the pan.
  16. Put the pan in the oven.
  17. Wait for about 90 to 120 minutes – depending on the amount of meat you used: the more the meat, the more the cooking time.
  18. The food is ready when the meat is cooked and the water has evaporated leaving only “juice” behind.

Notes on Lamb with Pasta in the Oven

On the cooking method
The way this recipe works has to do with “balance”: you need enough water to cook the meat and the pasta in the same time.

Now, if – for a number of reasons – the water:

  • is evaporating too fast, then you can add some hot water in the pan.
  • is not evaporating fast enough, then you can increase the cooking temperature.

You can try coriander, cardamom, or even chili flakes – and combinations thereof.

A Tip regarding how to treat deep frozen meat: here

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