Orzo is a great pasta to work with, its a bit like a risotto pasta and creates a great all in one pot dish for lunch or dinner – it only needs a good salad to go with it, try a greek salad with plenty of zingy red onion. Marinate the onion first in olive oil and a little vinegar to take away any harshness in the onion.
Eating this will remind you of a beautiful summers evening as its rich with tomato, fresh with herbs and slightly spicy. The meat will be beautifully tender and the pasta will soak up all those wonderful flavours from the meat.
Don’t worry when you are cooking the lamb in the oven if it looks rather watery, the orzo will hoover up all those juices to create a wonderful flavoured pasta.
Tip: You can cook the lamb the night before if you want to eat it, cover and keep in the fridge until needed, then reheat the lamb and the liquid. Once its hot add the orzo and put back in the pre heated oven for 20 minutes. It looks lovely toped with crumbled feta and chopped flat leaf parsley.
Serves: 5 -6
500g lamb neck fillet (sliced into neat ovals)
2 shallots diced
1 tsp herbs de provence
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp rose harrisa
0.5 tsp ground cinnamon (or you can use a half stick but remember to remove it before serving)
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
400g can chopped tomatoes (I prefer Multi as you don’t get any large lumps)
0.5 tsp sugar
1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock
crumbled feta and chopped parsley to serve
Preheat the oven to 160C fan/180C/gas mark 4.
In a deep lided oven proof casserole heat the olive oil. When its hot add the lamb and fry until browned. Add the diced shallot and soften with the the lamb. Add the herbs, paprika, cinnamon, rose harrisa and season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and vegetable or chicken stock and sugar. (The reason for the sugar is that tomatoes can be quite acidic and the sugar neutralises it). Bring the dish to the boil then put the lid on and transfer it to the oven for 2 hours, stirring occasionally if you have time !
After 2 hours remove the cinnamon stick if you used one, add the orzo and stir gently. Recover the dish and place back in the oven for a final 20 minutes. Stir half way through. When the time is up check the orzo i is cooked, adjust the seasoning as necessary. Serve with a garnish of crumbled feta and chopped parsley.