Today has been one of the windiest days I’ve witnessed in quite a while. Our new house has old chimneys with wood burners in almost every room and the wind has been whistling down them all day. Maybe this inspired me, or maybe I just love a good carb, but I couldn’t resist making this recipe.
For me, Orzo is the most comforting pasta. It’s like perfectly cooked, slightly slippery rice in texture and it just SUCKS up sauce. That’s why I had to Make the stunningly creamy ragout to go with it. It doesn’t use any stock – just a super tasty mire poix.
The panko is super crunchy and the basil oil is sharp and bright. It’s the perfect windy day dish.
Makes three good bowls of pasta.
For the Basil Oil
- 20 g fresh basil stalks and all
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the Ragout
- 1 tin borlotti beans drained
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small red onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds roughly ground in a mortar and pestle
- 1/2 small fennel bulb sliced into 2mm crescents on a mandolin
- 2 white carrots or 1/4 of a celeriac thinly sliced on the diagonal into cm pieces
- 1 tsp maldon salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp white miso
For the Orzo
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 200 g Orzo pasta
For the Panko
- 3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
To Make the Basil Oil
- Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blitz until smooth. Set aside.
- Nb. You can either strain out the basil or leave it in. For this recipe, I keep it in.
To Make the Ragout
- Drain the tin of borlotti beans and set aside.
- In a large Dutch oven (or a cast iron ovenproof saucepan with a liover medium low heat, add the crushed fennel seeds and toast until fragrant. Add the 2 tbsp olive oil along with the garlic, onion, fennel and carrots. Stir and then cover and leave to cook, stirring occasionally, for around 7 minutes. The vegetables shouldn’t brown very much, so keep your heat low.
- Preheat the oven to 200c.
- Add the remaining ragout ingredients and stir, along with the borlotti beans. Remove from the heat.
- Remove around half a cup of the bean/veg mix and blend until smooth with a stick blender. Return the blended mix back to the pan and pop the lid on. Put the pan in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
To Make the Orzo
- Bring a medium pan of water to the boil and add the salt.
- Add the Orzo to the pan and boil for around 8 minutes, or until cooked and al dente. Once cooked, drain.
To Make the Panko
- In a small frying pan, add the olive oil. Bring to a medium high heat and add the panko. Stirring constantly, allow the panko to turn golden brown. Remove from the pan as soon as the panko is done.
- Once the ragout is cooked and bubbling nicely, stir in the orzo. Serve with a drizzle of the basil oil and a sprinkle of the panko.