A show-stopper recipe, definitely the kind to pull out of the bag when you're wanting to wow dinner guests but are short on time. This whole recipe takes a little under 30 minutes to prepare. Orzo is actually a type of short-cut pasta, even though it doesn't look dissimilar to rice and the cooking method for this resembles cooking risotto, if a little quicker. The feta is marinaded in olive oil, fennel seeds and chili to give a little bit of a heat and extra depth of flavour for sprinkling on top. As an alternative to langoustines (which you can buy frozen in upmarket supermarkets or source from a fishmonger) you can use traditional prawns, though make sure they're raw so they absorb and envelop the flavours of the cherry tomatoes, garlic and white wine (a must).
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)
200g feta, broken into 1–2cm pieces
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
4 stalks of chard
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
400g cherry tomatoes, halved
150ml dry white wine or white vermouth
500ml veg/fish stock
400-500g raw langoustines or prawns
20g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper
Defrost your langoustines or prawns (this can be skipped if using fresh), place in a bowl of cold water for 30 mins-1 hr until defrosted.
In a medium bowl, mix the feta with the chili flakes and the fennel seeds and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Set aside.
Remove the chard stalks from the leaves. Finely slice the stalks and roughly slice the leaves. Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic.
In a medium saucepan (with lid), add a good glug of olive along with the chard stalks, onion and garlic. Sauté over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the orzo for 1 minute, then add the cherry tomatoes and add the wine. Bring to the boil and bubble away until reduced by half.
Add the vegetable/fish stock to the pan, stir and season well then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for ten minutes. Stir in the chard leaves. Cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes, until the orzo is cooked through and creamy (but still a little aldente), adding a splash of water as needed.
Add the prawns to the pan and cover with lid for 2-3 minutes until pink and cooked through.
Turn off the heat and sprinkle with parsley and the marinaded feta.
Serve with lemon slices.