My good friend and fellow blogger Jane-Anne Hobbs recently published an outstanding recipe for a Greek roasted lamb dish with orzo, “Mike’s Youvetsi”. She made this dish for us at her house last year, and I have since completely fallen in love with orzo as an ingredient. It’s got something to do with the mouthfeel of the orzo – to me, it is much more than flat rice-shaped pasta.
Last week I attended a function at the V&A Waterfront where we were served the most delicious buffet lunch (#DiscoverDelicious). One of the dishes included a rice dish with roasted butternut, peanuts and danish feta. It reminded me of how fabulous a meatless dish can be if served with really flavoursome roasted ingredients and just the right type of starch. I longed for Jane-Anne’s orzo dish (it truly is spectacular, especially if you’re a fan of lamb), but decided to go the meatless route for a quick roasted tomato & orzo dish with added leeks, onions, garlic and thyme.
The roasted tomatoes are also fabulous as a topping on freshly baked bread, but I decided to toss it with freshly cooked orzo topped with chunks of feta for a Greek inspired dish. This can certainly be a meatless main course, but I think it will be fantastic served at room temperature as a side dish on a buffet table. I used only 250 g orzo, but you can certainly use up to 500g for this recipe. It is very rich in flavour and such a satisfying dish!
Ingredients for roasted tomatoes:
- 1 kg tomatoes (mixed sizes)
- 1 onion, sliced in thin wedges
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 sprigs thyme, stalks removed
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- about 30 ml balsamic vinegar
- 30 ml soft brown sugar
- salt and pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 200C.
- Arrange the tomatoes in a large roasting tin. Slice the bigger tomatoes, but leave the small ones whole.
- Add the sliced onion, leeks, garlic, thyme, then drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with the sugar, then season well with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes at 200C until the tomatoes and onions are soft and slightly charred. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Ingredients for the orzo dish:
- 250 g orzo (or 500 g orzo if you are serving this as a side dish in a buffet spread)
- water and salt
- a little extra virgin olive oil
- 1 x batch roasted tomatoes (see recipe above)
- 200 g feta, crumbled or diced (or danish feta)
- shavings of parmesan cheese (optional)
- Cook the orzo in a pot of rapidly boiling salted water until tender – about 7 minutes. Drain and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.
- Add the cooked orzo to the roasted tomatoes and mix well. Transfer the contents to a suitable platter or large bowl, then top with the feta and parmesan cheese.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.