I often go through stages of eating one thing somewhat obsessively (I've only just kicked my Hula Hoop addiction). I recently picked up some orzo, meaning 'barley' in Italian, from a local deli and was instantly hooked. It looks a lot like rice, so there was no surprise that I'd like it, really.
I've had it before at barbeques, deliciously dressed with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and oregano but I wanted to make a more substantial meal of it. I had also had my eye on this recipe, and decided to incorporate the two as I was a little short on time, resulting in a rather Italian-Turkish twist.
Lamb & Aubergine Orzo Pasta
200gr orzo pasta
200gr minced lamb
1 medium aubergine
1 red pepper, chopped roughly
1 red chilli, sliced finely
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 spring onion, sliced finely
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
A handful of frozen peas
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped roughly
The juice of half a lemon
In rapidly boiling salted water, cook the orzo for about 8 minutes until tender. Drain and toss with a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil (I used Good Oil). Meanwhile, slice the aubergine into large chunks. In a non-stick frying pan, heat some oil up and fry the aubergine chunks until they're browned. Set aside on kitchen paper.
Minced lamb can be quite fatty, so I fried the lamb in a dry pan and then drained the fat off. Add the clove of garlic, minced, and stir-fry on a high heat. Add the red pepper, chilli and the frozen peas, then add the aubergine back into the pan. Carry on frying until the aubergine becomes soft and the peas are tender. Add the pomegranate molasses, the lemon juice, spring onion and the parsley, then toss through with the pasta and season.
I ate this warm rather than piping hot, and it tasted great with a complexity of flavours. The pomegranate molasses (unsurprisingly) lent a fruity background and the lemon and parsley cut through the rich flavour of the lamb.