Today's recipe is a cross between a risotto and a pasta dish. It's made with a tiny, rice-shaped pasta called 'orzo' cooked in a similar way to risotto. You could think of it as an 'orzotto'! We've put a twist on the accompanying pesto too. Instead of basil we're using rocket which provides a delicious, peppery contrast to the creamy pasta and fresh tomatoes. Enjoy!
Hard Cheese (Italian Style)
Vegetable Stock Pot
Halve, peel and finely chop the shallot into ½cm pieces. Peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press). Cut the courgette in half lengthways and chop into 1cm cubes. Chop the vine tomato into 1cm cubes. Finely chop the basil (stalks and all) and half the rocket.
Put a frying pan on medium heat (no oil!) and add the pine nuts. Dry-fry until they start to turn golden, about 1 min. TIP : Watch them like a hawk or they will burn! Once golden, remove from the pan and chop as finely as you can. No need to wash the pan we'll use it later.
Put the basil, chopped rocket and pine nuts in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle in the hard Italian cheese, a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Pour in the olive oil (amount specified in the ingredient list). TIP : Use your best quality olive oil! Add a quarter of the garlic and mix everything together. TIP : If you have a food processor, you can use it here, but we prefer the satisfaction of doing it by hand!
Squeeze the lemon juice into another mixing bowl and pour in a drizzle of olive oil. Add the tomato and a quarter of the shallot. Mix everything together. TIP : If you don't like raw shallot, leave it out.
Heat a drizzle of oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the remaining shallot. Cook until soft, 3-4 mins. Add the remaining garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the orzo and stir, then pour in the water (amount specified in the ingredient list) and vegetable stock pot. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer (stirring occasionally) until the liquid has been absorbed and the pasta is soft, 10 mins.
Meanwhile, put your frying pan back on medium heat (no oil). Add the courgette and cook until charred, turning occasionally, 7-8 mins. Once the orzo is cooked, stir in three-quarters of the pesto and the courgette. TIP : If all the liquid has been absorbed and the pasta is not quite done, add a splash of water and keep cooking. Serve in bowls, topped with the rocket leaves, tomato salad and a spoonful of remaining pesto. Enjoy!