Do you have those weeks as well where you seem to get in late every evening, and you’re just not in the mood to cook anything? I feel that’s what I’ve been doing a lot lately. There have been a few nights of scrambled eggs at 9 o’clock. I have the antidote to these kinds of weeks – I call it tomato orzotto.
There’s no denying it, this recipe is pure, 100% certified comfort food. It’s filling, it’s a bit startch-y, it’s all sorts of delicious. I find it so immensely satisfying and best of all it’s quick, easy and makes enough you can have a few bowlfuls in the fridge ready and waiting for you.
On the whole my tomato orzotto looks and feels quite a lot like a risotto, but I promise there is no standing over a pot for ages slowly pouring in stock involved. This is orzo. It looks like arborio rice, but is a kind of pasta. This gives you the happy-place-inducing consistency of a risotto, but the ease of boiling some pasta. What more could you ask for?
This dish is my take on an old Nigella recipe from Kitchen, but whilst hers was easy, I feel this is even easier. I make variations on this recipe quite a bit, but this one I’ve kept pretty simple. Variations include chorizo, chicken and kale; this one though is simply using the basics of tomato, garlic and rosemary.
If you’re looking for a weeknight wonder recipe to batch cook or to simple feed a few people in under half an hour, then I highly recommend giving this a go. And if you want to make it a little more healthy, take it off the heat a little before serving and stir several big handfuls of spinach through it.
This is one of those recipes that I make every so often when I need some speedy and wholesome comfort food in my life. But the original idea is adapted from a recipe in Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen. This recipe serves two.
1/2 a red onion
2 medium cloves of garlic
1 390g pack of passata
1 yellow pepper
1 handful of parsley (plus more to decorate)
1/2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper (I am using a rosemary sea salt here)
Cube your onion, crush the garlic and shred your parsley. Put your oil in a pan on a medium heat and once it’s really hot, add in the onions. Stir to coat with the oil and then leave to sizzle for a couple of minutes before adding in the garlic. Mix and sauté for about 4 minutes until then start to really soften (if they look like they are colouring turn down the heat and add a little more oil).
Once the onions are soft, pour in your passata and the water. Turn up the heat and bring back to just below the boil and add in your seasonings, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, thyme, parsley and honey. Mix together, put a lid on it and simmer for about 8-10 minutes.
Add in the orzo and cook according to the pack instructions (mine was about 10 minutes). Whilst it is cooking, slice your yellow pepper. Add it into the pot about five minutes before the end of the cooking process (you want it still firm).
When it’s ready, check the seasoning again and serve with a little more chopped parsley on top. If you want to make it extra healthy, stir through a couple of large handfuls of spinach just before taking it off the heat.