Baked leek and saffron orzotto
Recipe summaryClick image to view larger version
Suitable for vegans
Preparation 10 mins
Cooking 25 mins
GO VEGAN: Make a couple of simple switches: use dairy-free spread instead of butter and soya cream instead of dairy; finish with a sprinkling of Parmazano dairy-free hard cheese replacer.
Orzo is the pasta shaped like a fat grain of rice
(or strictly speaking barley – which is what orzo means). In this recipe it is cooked like a risotto, but in Turkey, it's added to pilaf and, in France, where it's called avoines (meaning 'oats'), it is served in soup. If you can't find it you can use stellini, the tiny star-shaped pasta. Baking pasta in liquid is not new, although according to Nigella Lawson it has become very trendy in Italy. Mrs Beeton gave recipes for macaroni and vermicelli puddings, cooked like rice pudding with the absorption of creamy milk.
- pinch of saffron strands
- 1 tbsp butter
- 500g leeks, chopped1 clove garlic, crushed
- 250g orzo
- 600ml vegetable stock
- 50ml cream (optional)
- 1 tbsp boiling water
- 1 tbsp oil (you could use the flavoured oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, below)
- 2 tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- 100ml vegetarian dry sherry or wine (optional – if not using, increase the quantity of stock to 700ml)
- salt and pepper
- grated vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese, to finish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
Soak the pinch of saffron strands in the tablespoon of boiling water.
Heat the butter and oil in a flameproof casserole and gently fry the leeks with the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes, until the leeks are softening.
Add the orzo and cook, stirring for 4 minutes. Add the wine and stir over the heat for another 2 minutes. Then add the stock and stir until just below the boil. Stir in the saffron and season well. Cover and put into the oven for 15 minutes.
Stir through the cream, if using. Ladle into soup plates and dust with the cheese, if desired.
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