Thursday, 30 December 2010

Fennel and artichoke orzo

Orzo is a little pasta shaped like a rice grain. I had some left after using it in soup, so I cast around for a way of using it up. This turned out to be a very filling pasta dish; the packet on the orzo said use 75g-100g per serving and I used 100g. It made a bit much, so today I’ll stick to 75g. The dairy in the dish could be made using whichever you prefer: cream, crème freche, fromage frais… I made this after the indulgent Christmas period so I used 0% Total. Also any pasta could be used, although stiring this all into tagliatelle might be a bit tricky. Oh, and watch out, orzo goes really gooey!

Fennel and artichoke orzo

Serves 4

Took around 45mins to prepare and cook

2 fennel bulbs, sliced

350g drained and chopped artichoke hearts (can be marinated or tinned)

300ml cream

Generous splash of dry white wine

50g Parmesan cheese

125g Spinach (shredded baby spinach is best, but I used chopped frozen)

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

30g butter

Olive oil for cooking

Orzo pasta (allow 75g dry weight per person)

*Saute the fennel over a medium heat in the butter and olive oil until soft and caramelised (around 20 minutes should do it)

*Add artichoke and cook for a further 5-10mins

*Stir in cream, mustard, wine and parmesan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5mins.

*Meanwhile cook the orzo in a large pan of salted water for about 8-10mins then drain well.

*Add the orzo and the spinach to the sauce and cook until spinach is wilted.

Additional notes: On the second run I added some pine nuts for a bit of variation on texture. I also sprinkled in some dried savory - it really brings out the flavour whilst still being extremely subtle.

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