Sometimes there’s nothing better than a big bowl of pasta after a long day. As a student, however, eating pasta and tomato sauce day after day can get a little bit dull. Orzo pasta is great for making a more interesting, but comfortingly familiar, dinner. Its a little bit like risotto rice ( orzo means ‘barley’ in Italian) but quicker and easier to cook and pair with your favourite sauce. Its available in most larger supermarkets, or if you live near a world food market or cash and carry type shop then you’ll most likely find it there ( and for a fraction of the supermarket price). This recipe has a little bit of summer in it, feta cheese, fresh soft herbs and mediterranean flavours all remind me of sunny days and dinner in the garden. You can use any fresh herbs or cheese that you like, feta and parsley are just my summery favourites!
1 large or 3 mini red pepper(s)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes
150g orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 a teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Slice the pepper(s) in half lengthways and deseed. Place on a baking tray, skin side up, with 1 tbsp of the olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast for half an hour.
To make the tomato sauce, heat the rest of the olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and fry until fragrant but not too brown. Add the chopped tomatoes, salt, sugar and pepper and 1/3 of the empty tomato can of water and simmer on a medium heat for about 20 mins.
Once the peppers and tomatoes are ready, add the peppers to the sauce. I like my sauce to be nice and smooth, so I used a stick blender to blend the peppers into the tomato sauce. If you’d prefer not to, or you don’t have a stick blender or processor, then skip this step.
Cook the orzo pasta according to the packet instructions (it should take around 10 minutes).
Add the orzo to the large saucepan and heat through. Season to taste and serve with the feta crumbled on top with some fresh parsley.