A comforting, vegetarian midweek meal
When you need a comforting dish, try this baked orzo, spinach, and ricotta dish
- SERVES: 2
- PREP TIME: 10 mins
- COOKING TIME: 20 mins
- IDEAL FOR: midweek meal, family, meat-free
- DIFFICULTY: easy
Do I have to use orzo pasta?
But it’s small and perfect for whipping this dish up for a midweek meal.
I actually had to up the recipe last minute to cater to 4 people.
And I only had orecchiette pasta in the cupboard.
I worked perfectly.
But if you use different pasta, you may need to adjust the cooking time a little.
It may take a little longer than using orzo pasta.
What is orzo?
Orzo, Italian for “barley” – looks like the grain with its small rice shape.
It’s classified as “pastina” — a category of tiny shapes commonly used for soups.
Orzo pasta is made with semolina flour (made of durum wheat).
Despite its similarities to rice, it’s not gluten-free.
Orecchiette – ‘Little ears’ pasta
Orecchiette (pronounced o-rek-kyet-teh).
And named for their shape, which looks like little ears.
It’s made only from semolina, water, and salt.
And their rough surface holds onto sauces which is perfect for a dish like this.
Baked orzo, spinach, and ricotta recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small red onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 60 g black olives, stones removed and cut in half
- 1 bay leaf
- Lemon zest
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or dried)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- X 1 400 g tin diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 3 tomatoes, chopped roughly
- 1 1/2 cups orzo
- 2 1/4 cups vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper to season
- 2 cups packed baby spinach
- 100 g ricotta (or feta) crumbled
- Heat oven to 210C/350F degrees.
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over low heat and add the onions – cook until soft – then add the minced garlic for another minute.
- Add the olives, some lemon zest, tomato puree and tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, chopped tomatoes, bay leaf, oregano and the orzo.
- Simmer, stirring occasionally for approx. 8 mins or until the orzo is almost cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
- Stir in the spinach and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, until they are wilted.
- Transfer the orzo to a baking dish and top evenly with crumbled ricotta (or feta)
- Bake for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Serve with salad or crusty bread.
For more tasty vegetarian recipes, visit here.
Recipe inspired by Riverford