Bacon and Pea Orzo Pasta

By Thursday, October 25, 2012

This week's Nigellissima (episode 5) featured a delicious looking pasta recipe, which I knew I would have to try out . The pasta used is called Orzo, which looks as though it could be rice. There is no need to drain the liquid after the Orzo has been cooked, meaning it is almost like making a risotto, but a much quicker version. I have tweaked Nigella's recipe slightly, by choosing to add a shallot and celery as well as cooking the Orzo in chicken stock, to give the dish a more intense flavour. The saltiness of the bacon and the stock flavour the Orzo beautifully, giving it a fantastically rich taste. The celery and shallots add sweetness but it is the thyme that brings the whole dish together with it's aromatic flavours. This is very easy to make, taking no longer than 15 minutes including preparation time. This recipe will serve two people generously, and is best served straight away.

You will need:

150g dried Orzo pasta,
300g Chicken stock, recently boiled
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 shallot, finely diced
100g peas
3 slices smoked bacon, cut into small pieces
large sprig of thyme, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
75g parmesan, grated

Begin by heating the oil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the shallot and celery and cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat until they begin to soften.

Add the bacon and cook for a further 5 minutes until the bacon becomes crispy. Pour in the peas with the orzo pasta and stir so that they absorb some flavour.

Pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil.

Turn the heat down, and leave the mixture to simmer for 8 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the Orzo. The Orzo will have expanded and softened in texture, and the liquid should have thickened. Remove from the heat and stir the parmesan in until it has melted. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

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