Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Orzo, coriander pesto and grana "brulee" with blood orange and fennel seeds

Today, I had a few blood oranges left in a dwindling fruit bowl and a bunch of coriander screaming to be used up. Wondering what to do with these beauties, I saw the cheeky glimmer of the packet of orzo hidden in the cupboard, and hey presto, here is the result. Inspired by the classic creme brulee, this is a savory take on it.

This is actually really quick to make, so perfect for the days when you're craving something a litttle different but don't want to spend hours in the kitchen. Also I'm trying, but not necessarily succeeding, to eat more lightly. With Spring having timidly slipped in, like a kid in the back of the class that's always late. It's arrived but not too sure of itself. I also haven't been too sure about what to eat, Some days it has been quite warm, then today, hailstones! So this is a good compromise, warming and refreshing.


75g orzo pasta
25g fresh coriander
40g cashew nuts,
60g Grana Padano
drizzle of sunflower oil
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
1 blood orange, peeled and sliced
1 tsp of fennel seeds

Start with the pasta, add to a medium pot of boiling, salted water. Cook for 6-8 minutes, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, spread the cashews evenly on a baking tray and place in a moderate oven for about 15 minutes until golden. You could also save time and buy the pre roasted cashew nuts, but rinse them well under running water to remove the salt.

Add the coriander, cashew nuts,half of the Grana, sunflower oil, salt and pepper to a food processor and blend to a pesto paste. My pesto was quite chunky, the cashews are a good combination with the orzo, but you could blend it finer if you prefer.

Add the rest of the Grana Padano to a sheet of baking paper, spread evenly in a circle and bake at 180C until crisp and golden.

In a dry pan, over a low heat, toast the fennel seeds lightly

Stir the pesto through the orzo pasta, and plate up in a ramekin style dish, place the Grana crisp on top. Serve with the blood oranges and toasted fennel seeds.

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