Orzo stuffed peppers with cucumber salad

I had this delicious stuffed pepper for lunch today but that was probably a bit indulgent for a Tuesday, so it would also make a great dinner. I imagine it has almost three of your five a day (depends slightly on how much carrot you use) but either way it tastes good and that’s the main thing, right?

This recipe makes two stuffed peppers.

Ingredients

  • 100g orzo pasta
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 small carrot, diced into small bits
  • 5-6 tbsp tomato passata
  • A bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Two bell peppers
  • About a tbsp of olive oil, of cooking
  • A finger length piece of cucumber, diced
  • A sprinkle of Parmesan

Method

Preheat oven to 200C (gas mark 6).

First, get the pasta on. Boil the kettle and pour over the pasta and a pinch of salt so it comes to about an inch above the pasta. It might need a bit more water than this so give it a stir and a taste every so often to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan (this will almost definitely happen, orzo is a pain to cool). You can add a bit of olive oil to prevent the pasta pieces sticking together too much. It should take about 6-8 minutes.

For the sauce, cut the shallot into small bits and then do the same with the garlic. Add half the olive oil to a frying pan and add the onions. Cook on a medium heat for 3-5 minutes and then add the garlic and mixed herbs. You can keep this on a low heat for as long as you want, stirring regularly, to get as much flavour out of it as possible. Now add the carrot and stir it in to make sure all the tiny pieces get coated in the oniony, garlicky, herby loveliness.

Check the pasta!

Stir in the passata and turn the heat up to medium until the mixture has heated back up. Add 3/4 of the finely chopped parsley and turn the heat off. Grate in some Parmesan and season to taste.

The pasta should be done by now – it doesn’t have to be properly cooked through because it will finish cooking in the oven. Add the pasta to the herby tomato sauce and mix to cover it all in the yummy goodness.

Slice the top off the peppers starting about half a centimetre down it’s length. You should then be able to pull out the seeds and remove some of the white stuff from the inside. Rub the rest of olive oil all around the pepper, including the lids. Spoon the pasta mixture into the hollowed peppers. Press it down with the back of the spoon to make sure you fit as much into the space as possible. Once full, grate some more Parmesan on top and then cover with the lid of the pepper. Put the peppers in the preheated oven and leave to cook for about 20 minutes.

While the peppers are roasting, prepare the cucumber and split between the two serving plates. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Once the peppers are cooked, serve them straight away and enjoy!

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