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I’ve just done a week which was 98% veggie (Monday I had leftover roast on sarnies rather than waste it). River Cottage Veg has been at my side throughout the week for recipes and inspiration.
This recipe was inspired by a risotto in the RC Veg book. I am still in my honeymoon phase with orzo- I love it. Not better, not worse than risotto, but different. It’s not as filling, even though it’s pasta, and I can adjust it to make it soupy if I fancy.
It’s such a simple recipe, so the key is to make a really good flavour base at the start. If you are in a rush you can miss out the carrot and celery but it really does add to it. Also, buy the best passata you can. Mine was passata soffritto so added even more of that flavour base to the mix
Tomato and Mozzarella Orzo
Serves 3 (but we had it between 2)
- 300g orzo pasta
- 1 small carrot
- 1 stick celery
- 1 onion
- 2/3 cloves garlic (depending on taste)
- 400ml passata
- 400ml stock (veg or chicken)
- ½ ball mozzarella cheese
- 6-8 basil leaves (I had some squeezy basil so used 2 tsp)
- Olive oil
- Butter (optional)
What you do
- Chop your onion finely and slowly fry in approx 2tsp oil and a small knob of butter in your saucepan for 3-4 mins on a low-medium heat
- Chop your garlic, carrot and celery finely as well (I do all this in my mini chopper) and add to the onion. Fry gently for about 5 minutes on low heat until it goes soft. Don’t let it brown
- Add the orzo and passata, stir well
- Add half the stock, and make sure the heat is low
- Stir every couple of minutes. If it looks like it’s too dry, add the rest of the stock. It’s hard to say how much you’ll need, so if you think it needs even more don’t be afraid to add it
- The pasta will take about 8-10 minutes to cook. This amount of liquid should give you a loose sauce
- Once cooked, stir through the chopped basil and season with pepper
- Scatter with chunks of mozzarella and serve
If you’ve never cooked with orzo my only warning is to ignore the people who say it’s better than risotto because you don’t have to stir it as much. Give it a stir every couple of minutes, otherwise you’ve got a sticky base on your hands. For the same reason, use the biggest pan you can. Enjoy !
Like this? try my orzo carbonara.