I was doing Veganuary right all along and I didn’t even know it!
Jokes aside, I am a big fan of celebrating beautiful vegan recipes, especially when they come from the right place.
I don’t really buy into vegan alternatives or substitutes, if I decide to go for a green dish, I rather choose one that doesn’t portray meat in any form but it shines for what it is, and luckily for me, the Italian culinary tradition is full of such dishes.
I love Orzo pasta, it gives you the ability to create the most comforting bowl of all time and brings me immediately back to my childhood.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
250 g of Orzo by Rustichella d’Abruzzo
1 small onion
250 gr of green chicory or any other green bitter(ish) leaves
4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
20 gr of re-hydrated raisins (soaked in water for 1 hour)
20 gr of chopped almonds to garnish
1 red chili to garnish
Rocket salad leaves to garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
Start by preparing the puree.
Sweat the chopped onion with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Rinse well the chicory and chop roughly. After a few minutes add the chicory to the onion and keep cooking on medium heat with a lid. Mix every now and then and add a splash of water. When soft and cooked through, blitz everything with a blender and check the seasoning. Keep on the side.
Chop the garlic and fry in olive oil until golden in a large pan. Add the orzo and pour in enough hot water to cover the pasta. Add a pinch of salt and cook while stirring and adding hot water as you go for 6 minutes. At this stage add enough chicory puree to make the orzo bright green and keep cooking with water until the pasta is cooked.
Remove the pasta from the stove, check the seasoning and add a good drizzle of olive oil. Stir well and plate in large bowls.
Dress the Orzo with the raisins, the thinly sliced chili, and chopped skinned almonds. Optionally add rocket salad leaves of tender leaves of raw chicory and enjoy.
Recipe by Danilo Cortellini