Prawn and wine orzo pasta

I encountered Nigella Lawson at a party maybe 10 years ago. I say encountered, I was walking past her as she was in an exchange about some lost jewellery. The point is, she was as stunning a human being as I’d ever seen. Close up, in the flesh, she is flawless. And it’s obviously all down to what she eats… So with that in mind, I’m trying a type of pasta that I saw her cook recently – orzo – which I’d never used before. I loved it. Orzo is small, rice-like pasta.

This is not dissimilar to a prawn risotto except it’s zero effort as there’s none of the continuous stirring involved with a risotto. It was sweet, soft and savoury. The onion and prawns give a bit of texture to counteract the softness of the pasta.

What to use – serves 2

  • 150g orzo pasta
  • 220g cooked king prawns
  • 150ml white wine
  • 300ml chicken stock (and up to 150ml of boiling water if you need to top up the liquid)
  • olive oil
  • a white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic – squashed with a knife and chopped for subtler flavour
  • juice of half a lemon
  • teaspoon of butter (optional)
  • small bunch of chopped flatleaf parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan to serve

How to use it

In a cast iron pan with a lid – something that can go into the oven – saute the onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes or until translucent. Don’t let it brown. Add the orzo to the pan and stir, then add the white wine and bring to a bubble. You will probably need to stir so the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan as it tends to do with cast iron (for me at least).

Let it bubble for a couple of minutes then add the chicken stock. When back at a gentle bubble, gentle not boiling, put the lid on and put it in a 160C oven for 15 minutes.

Take out, stir, and add some of the 150ml boiling water if it’s needed. I used it all. Put back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Take out of the oven, and add the prawns and lemon juice, stir well then put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes – until the prawns are heated through.

Stir in a knob of butter, the chopped parsley, season to taste and serve with a sprinkle of parmesan.

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