When your eye scans across the various pasta choices it’s easy to fall back on familiar spaghetti and penne, but the other shapes hide a whole world of texture and possibility. Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta and for this recipe you’ll be using it like a risotto rice. Velvety and more-ish, say hello to your new favourite.
1 onion, 1cm dice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
220g cherry tomatoes, halved lengthways
60g chorizo, 2cm dice
2 tbsp tomato purée
200g orzo pasta
1 vegetable stock pot
1 ball buffalo mozzarella
50g Parmesan, grated
125g baby spinach
salt and black pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Prep the onion, garlic and thyme. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half lengthways. Cut the chorizo into 2cm dice.
2. Put the tomatoes on a baking tray, add 1 tsp olive oil, season with ¼ tsp salt, a few grinds of black pepper and roast on the top shelf of your oven for 10 mins. Once cooked, remove from the oven and set aside.
3. Put the kettle on to boil. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and season with ¼ tsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir and cook until soft, 5 mins. Next add the garlic, thyme, tomato purée and chorizo to your pan. Give everything a good stir. Cook for another 2 mins. Add the orzo to the pan and stir again so it gets a good coating of all the other ingredients.
4. Pour 500ml boiling water into the pan along with the vegetable stock pot. Stir to dissolve the stock pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan, until the liquid has been absorbed and the orzo is tender, 9–10 mins. If the liquid is all absorbed before the orzo is cooked, add another splash of water and give it a couple more mins.
5. While the orzo cooks, roughly tear the mozzarella cheese into small pieces and grate the Parmesan. When the orzo is ready, take the pan off the heat, add the mozzarella, half the. Parmesan and the roasted tomatoes. Stir gently. Add the baby spinach on top and pop a lid on the pan so the spinach wilts, 3–4 mins, then stir it gently together.
6. Serve your orzo in bowls with the remaining Parmesan sprinkled on top.