Manestra is the perfect example of how simple and inexpensive ingredients create a hearty delicious meal. This tomato and orzo soup is ready in under an hour. Toast some hearty bread to soak up the delicious broth and enjoy it!
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Feel free to use whichever pasta you have in your pantry. Elbow pasta, little stars, alphabet pasta, or even vermicelli noodles all work great!
This is meant to be a vegetarian soup, but you can most definitely throw in some meatballs or even leftover roasted chicken. Delicious!
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, grated
- 30 ounces canned tomatoes, pureed
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 6 cups of water
- Feta, optional garnish
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped mint, basil, or parsley
- Place the onion and olive oil in a large pot and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until soft and golden.
- Add the garlic and warm through 20-30 seconds then add the tomato paste.
- Warm through 30 seconds.
- Add the pureed tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, oregano, and sugar. Bring to a boil.
- Add the orzo pasta and boil for 8 minutes. Make sure to stir often. Orzo pasta tends to sink to the bottom of the pot and can burn easily. Cook until the pasta is al dente. It will continue to cook in the hot broth even off of the heat.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- The soup will continue to thicken as it sits. Add more liquid if needed and adjust seasoning accordingly.
- Garnish with the chopped mint and serve! Enjoy!
- Notes: You may keep this soup vegan and serve it with some toasted bread. It’s delicious. If you are not keeping it vegan, add some crumbled feta to the serving bowls. The creamy feta makes this soup even tastier!
- If you freeze cheese rinds, you may add them to the soup along with the tomato puree to add more flavor.