Baked Orzo with Courgette and Mozzarella

I saw a lot of talk online earlier this year about the Roasting Tin series of cookbooks by Rukmini Iyer. After lifting my self-imposed ban on buying cookbooks I eventually ordered The Quick Roasting Tin. My only regret was that I didn’t order it sooner! It is a fab book and I can’t wait for next one due out in May. 

The first recipe that really drew my eye was her Orzo Giardiniera. Having already seen a one pot recipe for Stuffed Greek Chicken with Orzo in Diana Henry’s From the Oven to The Table, I decided that I had to try baked orzo. I already love using orzo but this way of cooking it was a revelation to me. The pasta becomes so creamy and the courgettes almost melt into the sauce. The starch from the pasta turns the stock and lemon juice into the tastiest sauce.

Can you tell I’m big into one pot meals at the moment? Also meals that are great to have the next day for lunch, which this is. For me this is a perfect meal on it’s own, however I did serve it here as a side with a quick butterflied breast of chicken cooked in the balsamic glaze from this recipe.

 

Useful tips & links:

  • Orzo is the best pasta for this as it cooks so quickly but if you do want to use another shape you will need to use more stock and allow a longer cooking time.
  • I added mozzarella here but in her original recipe Rukmini suggests crumbling feta on top. If your dish needs to be vegetarian make sure the cheese and stock you use are suitable. If it needs to be vegan leave out the cheese altogether.
  • I think this would be a great side dish for a barbecue as it can be served at room temperature too.
  • I know this is the second courgette or zucchini recipe in as many months but I find I always have one lying around in the veg box and they are so versatile. Have a look at these delicious Carrot Courgette and Halloumi Fritters. 
  • Have a look at Billy’s Baked Tomato and Mozzarella Orzo for more inspiration.

 

 

 

Before baking the pasta

 

 

 

 

Baked Orzo with Courgette and Mozzarella

 

Serves 4-5 as a side dish

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 shallot finely diced
  • 250g of orzo pasta
  • 1 large courgette, grated
  • 75g of sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 125g of mozzarella
  • 500ml of hot stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • A large handful of spinach, chopped
  • A small bunch of basil leaves, chopped
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh chopped chilli

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 200c/180c fan/gas mark 6.
  • In an ovenproof dish, heat the oil over a low heat and fry the diced shallot until soft.
  • Remove the dish from the heat and pour in the orzo, courgette and sundried tomato. Add in a little of the oil from the sundried tomatoes for extra flavour and mix everything well together.
  • Break up the mozzarella and dot it through the dish. Pour over the stock and bake it in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Check the dish after about 15 minutes to make sure that it is not drying out, if it is add a little water.
  • When it is cooked, take it out of the oven and taste for seasoning. It may not need any salt due to the stock but a little pepper will be nice.
  • Add the spinach, basil and lemon juice and stir it all together so that the spinach wilts in the heat of the pasta.
  • Sprinkle over as much chopped chilli as you like and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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