A creamy orzo dish with all the flavour and little fuss.
Roast vegetables sound fancy, don’t they? I think, really, they’re a bit of a cheat. I never cook just plain butternut squash soup, or risotto- it’s always roast butternut squash soup or risotto – because I hate peeling the things! Bung them in the oven for a bit and you can scoop them out of their skins with a spoon.
It’s awful when you’re cooking in a rush and the vegetables aren’t quite soft. They’re edible, yes, but you can taste that they’re not as sweet as they have the potential to be. If you know you’re likely to be in a rush, here’s where you can cheat. Stick a batch of vegetables on to roast then put them in the fridge until you need them. Let them slowly sweat in the oven while you do the dishes, or chill out after dinner, or play with your children. Take a bath, don’t worry – they will be fine just where they are.
Make sure the oven isn’t too hot or they will burn on the outside and become bitter. Cook them slowly – if you’re not sure whether they’re done yet, they’re not. The skin on the peppers should be wrinkled up and a fork should pass easily through the squash flesh. The perfect sweet counterpart to the creamy orzo.
Orzo is like rice – it needs a certain orzo to water ratio to cook quickly. It may need a top up from the kettle or a stir to get it going again. It will need to be kept boiling vigorously – this may mean leaving it uncovered.
- 2 courgettes
- 2 peppers (ideally red and yellow)
- 1 onion
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 200g tub cream cheese
- 6oz dried orzo
- 1 400g can chickpeas
- 1tsp garlic powder
- a sprinkling of black pepper
- a pinch of crushed chilli
- Fresh basil
- roast veg for 1.5 hours on gas mark 5
- cook orzo until tender
- Drain, return to the heat and add cream cheese, garlic powder, pepper and crushed chilli. Mix well until the cheese is melted and the pasta coated.
- Mix in the chickpeas and roast veg, scooping the squash from its skin with a spoon.
- Stir while the chickpeas and veg are heated through.
- Tear up the basil leaves and scatter over when serving.