This dish can take many variations: use cooked salmon or haddock, especially if you have leftovers, sautéed prawns or fried cubed courgettes. Orzo is a brilliant thing to keep in the cupboard if you have children (especially toddlers) – it cooks so quickly. Sometimes I just make it with spinach leaves, lemon zest and parmesan – no other additions.
Eat this promptly – it gets sticky if it’s kept waiting, although it does reheat well the next day if you do it gently with a little stock or water.
Prep time: 5 minutes | Cooking time: 25 minutes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 625ml chicken stock, or a mixture of stock and water, or stock and dry white wine
- 325g orzo pasta
- 250g cooked chicken, cut or torn into bits
- 90g baby spinach leaves, torn
- 30g basil, leaves only, torn
- 35g grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
- Heat the olive oil and gently sauté the onion until soft and pale gold. Add the garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the stock and bring to the boil, then add the orzo.
- Turn the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 8 minutes. You can stir a couple of times to stop the pasta sticking but try not to do it too much. By the end the stock should have been absorbed and the pasta have become soft, but still with a little firmness. If the stock dries up before the orzo is cooked add a bit more water.
- Stir in the chicken and spinach. The spinach will wilt in the heat. Again, if things seem a little dry add more stock or water. Stir in the basil and Parmesan. Taste and season.