Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. This recipe takes about twenty minutes to cook, and is packed with wholegrain fibre, plus protein and omega-3 ‘good fats’ from the tuna. And better yet, it’s bursting with flavour.
Tomato, chilli, and basil are a match made in heaven. Feel free to swap out the feta for another cheese of your choice—parmigiano reggiano would be delicious—and don’t be shy in experimenting with different flavoured oils when it comes time to serve: garlic or chilli-infused oils would all be a dream in this dish, and would work just as well as basil oil.
Makes four serves.
What You’ll Need
250g wholegrain orzo (also called risoni)
2 tins (95g) Sirena ‘Chunky Tomato & Basil’ Tuna
1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
500ml low-sodium vegetable stock
4 vine-ripened tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp red chilli flakes
2 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp ground black pepper
60ml extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tb for the tomatoes
Large handful basil leaves, torn
Sea salt, to taste
Basil oil, to serve (optional)
Place a heavy-based pan (cast iron is great) over a medium heat and allow to heat up evenly.
Toast the fennel seeds in the dry pan for about 60 seconds or until fragrant, then transfer to a mortar and pestle. Crush lightly, then add the chilli flakes and 30ml olive oil. Mix to combine, then leave to rest.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 30ml olive oil in the pan and add the orzo. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously, until golden brown. Transfer orzo to a bowl.
Return the fennel, chilli and oil mix to the pan, along with the crushed garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously, then pour in the stock and tinned tomatoes.
Mix well and turn the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, add ground black pepper, then return the orzo to the pan and stir to combine.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, then place a lid over the pan and leave to cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally, to keep the orzo from sticking, and if the mix dries out add half a cup (125ml) of boiling water and stir to combine. Taste, and season with sea salt.
Meanwhile, coat the vine-ripened tomatoes with the extra tablespoon of olive oil, and roast at 180?C for 12-15 minutes, until the skin splits and the flesh softens.
Remove the lid of the pan for the final 2-3 minutes of cook time. The orzo should thicken and resemble a risotto.
To serve, top with crumbled feta, tuna chunks, lightly-crushed oven-roasted tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves.
Season with a little extra salt and black pepper if desired, and top with a drizzle of basil oil if you’ve got it.