Recipe: Kritharaki with Roman-Greco Chicken Meatballs by George Calombaris

George Calombaris, the man behind Greco-Roman restaurant Mama Baba, cooks up a rare treat for readers this month – chicken meatballs with orzo pasta – ideal for serving at Kosher or Halal meals.

Making fresh pasta at Mama Baba’s

The former MasterChef judge opened the Mama Baba in early 2012 to serve discerning diners in Melbourne, Australia with his distinctive blend of Greek and Italian cuisine.

Calombaris says of his mixed background:

“I have had a love for pasta all my life. Not many people know but my Grandmother was Sicilian and my dad speaks fluent Italian so this always translated onto our family table.

“Simple and uncomplicated with incredible flavours is what it’s all about. Like at my Mama’s house, food is king!”

If you can’t get along to the Melbourne establishment to sample the delights from head chef Dominic Pipicelli, George has provided a quintessential example of the Mediterranean flavours from the venue in the recipe below.

Chicken Meatballs with Kritharaki – from chef George Calombaris


Serves/makes:  4-6 portions


Chicken meat balls

  • 200 g skinless chicken breast
  • 200 g boneless skinless chicken thigh
  • 100 g bread crumbs
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 75 g grated parmesan
  • Half a bunch chopped parsley, thyme.


  • 500 g dried Kritharaki(orzo) pasta
  • 1 L chicken stock
  • 150 g butter
  • 100 g grated parmesan
  • Half a bunch chopped chives and parsley


  1. Mince the thigh and breast; mix the minced meat bread crumbs, eggs, parmesan and herbs.
  2. Roll the chicken mix into 12g balls and poach the balls in 1/3 of the chicken stock for 10 minutes.
  3. Bring the remaining chicken stock to the boil and add the Kritharaki cook till soft. Finish by folding through the butter, parmesan, herbs and toss through the chicken meat balls.

Calombaris’ newest venue, Mama Baba, is located at 21 Daly Street, South Yarra, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Bookings on 03 9207 7421.

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