Baked Orzo with Prawns

orzoprawns.jpg

Very easy and delicious dish that could be served as a main course with a light green salad, or be part of a Sunday family buffet. The olives and basil add a more Mediterranean flavour. I used a combination of cheeses, feta and mozzarella, but if you would like to use just one, choose feta.

orzoprawn2.jpg

You will need

  • 500gr orzo
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ cup good quality white wine
  • 800gr grated tomatoes (from a carton)
  • 1/8 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1–2 stalks fresh basil leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 25 large prawns, peeled
  • 100gr black olives, pitted and cut in half
  • 200gr feta cheese, crumbled
  • 200gr mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
  • chilli flakes (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 175 C (345 F). In a large pot bring plenty of salted water to boil. Add orzo and cook until «al-dente». Drain orzo but keep ½ cup of the cooking water.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, over medium heat. Add the onion and cook stirring ocasionally for a couple of minutes. Throw in the garlic and cook for anothe two minutes, or so, until onion is soft. Add the red pepper and cook another 2-3 minutes. Increase heat to high and add the white wine. Let it bubble away for a minute. Add the tomatoes, chilli powder, oregano, basil leaves, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lower the heat and let sauce simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, until it thickens slightly. Add the prawns to the sauce and cook for 1 minute.

Take saucepan off the heat and add the olives, feta, the orzo and the ½ cup of cooking water. Mix well and spread in a rectangular ceramic or glass baking pan. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Let baked orzo stand for 5-10 minutes. Serve with a green salad and sprinkled with chilli flakes.

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