This warming tomato-based dish is very popular with kids – they love scooping out the pasta from the bottom of the bowl. If you prefer you can use chicken, beef or lamb instead of pork, and different pasta shapes as long as they are small.
Youvetsi is a comforting winter stew traditionally made with risoni but in my gluten-free version I have swapped it out for baby elbow pasta.
- 1 kg boneless pork shoulder, cut into 4-cm chunks
- sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 125 ml (½ cup) red wine
- 400 g can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cinnamon stick
- pinch of grated nutmeg
- 200 g gluten-free elbow pasta
- grated kefalograviera or parmesan, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan-forced).
2. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat half the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over medium–high heat, add the pork in batches and brown on all sides for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
3. Heat the remaining oil in the dish and sauté the onion for 2–3 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves and tomato paste and cook for another 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, stirring to release any caramelised bits caught on the base, and simmer for 2–3 minutes or until reduced by half.
4. Return the pork and any resting juices to the dish and add the crushed tomatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1.25 litres of water. Season with an extra pinch of salt, then cover and braise in the oven for 2 hours.
5. Remove the dish from the oven and stir in the pasta. Put the lid back on and bake for another 15 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Finish with grated kefalograviera or parmesan and a grinding of pepper and serve.
• Instead of kefalograviera or parmesan you could crumble over Greek feta just before serving – it’s just as delicious!
Recipe extract from Easy Gluten Free by Helen Tzouganatos, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Jeremy Simons