Orzo with Prawns and Tomatoes

I was at the supermarket looking for a specific type of pasta (which they sadly didn’t have – turns out Mafaldine is really hard to get hold of!) when I came across orzo. I have had this one before when on holiday in Greece and I remember really enjoying the pasta cross with rice sort of texture. So I picked up a pack thinking a nice tomato sauce and some prawns would go nicely with it. I googled a few recipes for inspiration but didn’t really like any of them in entirety. Instead I merged the bits I liked together and came up with the following recipe. In particular I really liked the idea of treating the orzo like a risotto rice and using passata rather than water to cook it in. The smoky chorizo brings a delicious rich flavour and the roasted tomatoes on top burst with flavour as you start eating. Super tasty!

Ingredients – serves two

  • olive oil
  • 6 tomatoes on the vine (or more if they are cherry/plum tomatoes)
  • two echalion shallots (or 3-4 small round shallots), finely diced
  • one garlic clove, minced/grated
  • half of a chorizo ring – about 100-130g (I used a slightly spicy one but you could go for smoky to avoid any heat)
  • half a glass of white wine
  • 180g orzo
  • 300g passata (use just over half a carton if buying a 500g one)
  • 200ml hot water (if needed)
  • frozen peas (about 100g, but I just poured them until it looked about right!)
  • parmesan – a good couple of handfuls when grated (see picture)
  • handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped

Method – takes about half an hour including prep

Start by getting the vine tomatoes straight into the oven (180 degrees fan oven) on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and liberally season with salt and pepper. Prick them a couple of times with the end of a knife to avoid explosions in the oven too!

Gently sweat the shallots and garlic in a  heavy based saucepan until softened (about 8 minutes). Meanwhile, peel the chorizo stick and slice into rounds about 1cm thick. I like to then cut them in half to get more chunks. Add to the pan and allow to sizzle for a few minutes.

Once the oils have started to come out of the chorizo and it is all smelling delicious add in the orzo and stir with a wooden spoon to coat in the oils. Leave for 30 seconds and then pour in the wine and allow to bubble for a minute or so.

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Cook off the alcohol before adding the passata

 

Once the wine has almost been absorbed, pour in the passata, stir and leave to simmer for 8 minutes. Keep stirring every few minutes, adding a splash of hot water if it starts to look too thick. I used about 200ml in total to keep the orzo cooking in the sauce.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan sear the prawns on each side on a high heat so that they are just pink.

IMG_3912
Pan fry the prawns until just pink

Once the orzo is tender (it will still have a bit of a bite like a risotto rice) add the peas, parmesan and parsley. Put the lid on and leave for a couple of minutes for the cheese to melt and the peas and prawns to cook through. At this stage take the tomatoes out the oven to cook slightly before serving.

IMG_3911
Two handfuls of parmesan and one handful of parsley

Give it all a good stir and serve into bowls. Cut off the stalks (I like to leave a little of the green for presentation) from the tomatoes and nestle 3 on the top of each serving (more if using cherry tomatoes). A little parmesan and parsley to sprinkle on the top finishes it nicely, then tuck in!

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