First posted: Jun 23, 2020

Orzo with Saffron and Caramelised Fennel and Tomatoes



Cooks in:        Serves:4

  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter (or leave out and use a dash more oil)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large fennel bulb, roughly chopped (reserve some of the greens to garnish)
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 handful basil, chopped (stalks included)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 heaped cup baby tomatoes, halved
  • 1-1.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 350g orzo pasta
To Serve
  • Scattering of fresh lemon zest
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Grate parmesan or pecorino cheese

What to do

1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium-high heat, then add in the onion and fennel and cook for 4-5 minutes or until lightly golden before adding in the saffron, chilli, garlic, tomatoes, stock and a pinch each of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

2. Cook for another 10 minutes, or until the fennel is silky and tender. Add in the orzo and an extra ½ cup hot water about 8 minutes before serving.

3. Just before serving, season to taste, loosen with a little extra water or stock if necessary, stir through the fresh herbs and serve immediately with lots of grated fresh cheese and a few fennel fronds to garnish.

Photo Credit Henk Hattingh

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