You can whip this up in the blink of an eye, leaving more time to fiddle around with a main dish whether that’s a succulent piece of lamb, a traybake of stuffed vegetables for an all-veggie meal, or something of the like.
200g (7 oz) orzo pasta Salt 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 200g (7 oz) cherry tomatoes 70g (2-3 oz) black olives 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed 2 tsp lemon juice A few pinches dried chilli flakes Freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, salt it, add orzo and cook as per the packet instructions, or until al dente. Drain and toss through 1 tablespoon of oil. Set aside.
2 Cut tomatoes in half and gauge out and discard the wobbly watery-seed bits. Chop flesh coarsely.
3 Drain olives, remove stones and chop coarsely.
4 Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan (skillet) and sizzle up the garlic, tomatoes, and olives. Heat through for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly so that nothing catches; don’t let the mixture fry.
5 Add the orzo to the mix and toss everything together. Add the lemon juice, chilli flakes, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, or to taste, and pepper and mix thoroughly. Pop it all into a serving bowl, scatter over the parsley and serve immediately. Voila! Easy as pie – or an orzo salad – as the saying goes.
Orzo is a small pasta shape resembling grains of rice. It’s also known as risoni. It’s often added to soups but it makes a good salad, too, and can be baked in a gratin or served with creamy vegetable or seafood sauces.
Don’t be over-generous with the salt in case the olives are salty. It’s easier to add more in than take some out.