With every mouthful of this Mediterranean concoction, your tastebuds will be tickled with a thousand aromas! Pleasing to the eye, as well as the tongue, this recipe is very easy to prepare and keeps well in the fridge or freezer, for warming at another time. Using good quality organic ingredients is key, as always.
Orzo is a type of short cut pasta, shaped as a large grain of rice. It has been used in Greek, Italian, Spanish, Israeli, Turkish, and Arabic cuisine for centuries. If you can’t get hold of it, any short cut pasta will work well.
Mediterranean Orzo With Artichokes, Olives, Capers & Pine Nuts
500g orzo pasta, preferably wholemeal
1 leek, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp vegetable stock powder
1 tsp salt + 1 tsp for the boiling water
1 tbsp dried oregano
3 large tomatoes, finely chopped
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp ketchup
1 jar of artichoke hearts, drained & finely chopped
1 heaped tbsp capers
20 pitted black Kalamata olives
15 pitted green olives, stuffed with red pepper
A whole bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh spearmint or mint
A splash of vegetable broth for sautéing
2 tbsp roasted pine nuts
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
🍅 First, chop and prepare all the ingredients, as shown in the picture. This makes cooking easier and so much more pleasurable.
🍅 Rinse the orzo under plenty of fresh cold water, to remove most of the starch and prevent it from becoming too sticky. Bring a medium pan of water to a boil. Add 1 tsp of salt and the orzo and stir well. Make sure the water covers the orzo well. Let it boil for about 12-13 minutes (or according to package instructions), stirring frequently to keep it from sticking.
🍅 Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Heat up the vegetable broth over low to medium heat in a large, deep pan. Add the onion, the leek, the oregano and the stock powder, cover and sauté for 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a couple of minutes.
🍅 Add the chopped tomatoes, the tomato paste, the ketchup and a tsp of salt and keep simmering gently, while you stir.
🍅 Add the artichokes, the capers, the black and the green olives, the parsley and the mint. Stir gently with the lid on, so that the steam helps all the flavours to be released. Simmer covered as such, for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it rest.
🍅 In a dry small frying pan, add the pine nuts and roast them over medium to high heat for a few minutes, watching them closely and shaking them every so often, until they begin to brown and release their fragrant oils. Remove from the heat and set aside.
🍅 Once the orzo is ready, drain it well and gently mix it into the vegetable mixture, using a large spoon and soft strokes.
🍅 Serve the orzo in a nice serving bowl or platter, or individual plates and top with the pine nuts and some extra fresh, finely chopped parsley.