I was never the most adept of cooks as a student, but this was one of the few recipes I could cook to impress. You could count the number of recipes in my repertoire on one hand (like most of my contemporaries probably) but this was definitely my secret weapon. It’s devilishly simple but seems far more sophisticated than the sum of its parts!
It didn’t start out such an impressive dish and my first attempt involved spaghetti broken into small pieces. I now have fingers like a ninja thanks to years of snapping lengths of spaghetti with my bare hands!
I find this dish absolutely perfect as it is (I think for about 3 years of my life, not a single week went by when I didn’t have this at least once, maybe twice, and I still enjoy it just as much!) but if you want to add an extra layer of depth to the flavour, you can add bouillon powder to the boiling water.
I don’t add any extra seasoning because the meat is already heavy on the salt, but if your palette is more accustomed to a burst of sodium than mine then feel free to add a dash at the end.
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- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3½ ounces / 100g pancetta, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon of chilli flakes
- 5¼ ounces / 150g frozen peas
- 8¾ ounces / 250g orzo
- 24½ fluid ounces / 700ml boiling water
- 1½ ounces / 40g parmesan, finely grated
In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium heat and then add the pancetta.
Fry until the pancetta is beginning to brown, then add the garlic and chilli and fry for a further minute, before adding the peas.
Fry for another 3-4 minutes and then add the orzo with the water and give a good stir to mix everything together.
Cook for 10-12 minutes, until the water has gone and the rice has cooked but still has its bite.
Remove from the heat, add the cheese and combine until you have a thick, creamy risotto.
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