Goodness. Is anyone else feeling the chill lately?
During the rickets-inducing darkened winter months, I feel it’s almost mandatory to switch over to comfort food. After all, after trudging through the biting wind on icy pavements, I think even the most determined salad enthusiast would be hard-pressed to be happy to come home to a chilled bowl of leaves.
Instead, it’s time to embrace winter food. Piping hot soups. Steaming piles of pasta. Plates of deep, rich stew and rivulets of gravy running down mountains of mash.
Getting cosy with winter food is a definite bright spot in the otherwise grey, chilly days.
Winter food is all about creamy comfort, and one of the best places to find it is in a bowl of silky orzo. Cooking orzo risotto-style has become all the rage, which is a total blessing for the time-poor. If you’re in the mood for a risotto and you can’t possibly face stirring at the stove for an hour, orzo is your friend.
I love this recipe for many reasons – it’s filling without being heavy, it’s fast and it’s super easy. Most of all, it’s completely delicious. The succulent prawns and juicy peas invoke memories of sunshine bright enough to sustain us through a freezing winter.
Prawn and pea orzo (serves 2)
1 onion, diced
1½ cups orzo
1 cup peas
1 tbsp tomato paste
2½ cups fish stock
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 cloves garlic, minced
Chopped parsley to serve
Slowly fry the onion in vegetable oil with some salt, so it begins to soften. After three minutes, add the orzo and coat in the oil.
Add the tomato paste, paprika and stock, stirring. It takes around 12 minutes to cook orzo this way.
At the 8-minute mark, add the frozen peas.
At this point you can also heat some oil in a frying pan, ready to toss the prawns in. They are very quick – place them on one side for one minute, then add the garlic and toss the prawns so the other side cooks. They need around two minutes in total, depending on the size. Take them off the heat and set them aside.
Test if the orzo is done. It should be toothsome but yielding, just like normal pasta. Serve the orzo with the prawns and top with a handful of chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.