First posted: Mar 6, 2013

Bacon and Butternut Orzotto


I think that there are a lot of things to get excited about with this dish – it’s far from fussy but it’s still got all the oomph and creaminess of a risotto, and using Orzo pasta (shaped like rice grains) is a lot more budget friendly, and more than halves the cooking time, so you’re going from pot to plate that much quicker. Also, it makes me want to call it glorious.

Orzotto usually refers to a type of risotto made with barley, but it can also be extended, loosely, to cover this risotto style of cooking with orzo pasta. Whatever the semantics (read more here), it’s pretty lip-smacking. The crispy bacon bits are the perfect partner for the golden roasted butternut, and the little punch of freshness from the rosemary rounds it all off until it sings.

Me being me, I can’t wait to try this with Chorizo, or mushrooms and gorgonzola, or even just simple peas and mint. Fantastic fridge foraging food I say.

Oh, and if my last few posts are anything to go by, yes I need to get me off this pasta wagon. Particularly as we have a TV show to shoot in a little over two weeks time.



Cooks in:        Serves:2

  • 350g butternut squash (about half a medium sized squash) peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 125g bacon, cut into cubes
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 200g orzo pasta
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • About 2 cups chicken stock, or more as needed
  • About 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, for serving
  • 1 Tbsp extra olive oil, for serving
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

What to do

1. In a medium sized pot, boil your butternut in a generous amount of salted water for 12-15 minutes, or until just cooked through, then drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, fry your bacon over medium-high heat in a drizzle of olive oil until just crispy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary just as the bacon is almost cooked as you don't want to burn it.

3. Add in the orzo pasta and stir until all the grains are well coated in the oil. Add the white wine, stir for about a minute, then gradually add in the stock, stirring often. Allow to come to a simmer, then cover and leave to cook on a low-medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the orzo is just cooked through.

4. Add the drained butternut to the pan and stir until everything is combined. You are looking for a porridgy consistency, risotto should not be sticky but should be silky and should fall off your spoon so add more stock if necessary.

5. Remove from the heat, stir through the parmesan and parsley, add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

You can of course leave out the white wine and just use extra stock.

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