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Orzo Meatballs
January 2024
Reading time 2 Minutes
Orzo (a type of pasta) is an ingredient we don't use very often but when we do use it, we're always left wondering why we don't use it more often because it's lovely. On the subject of lovely, the inspiration for this magnificent recipe came from the queen of cooking herself, Nigella Lawson
  • For the meatballs
  • 20g flat-leaf parsley (including the stalks)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 600g plant-based mince
  • 3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 tbsp nooch (nutritional yeast) or grated plant-based parmesan
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • For the sauce
  • 1 small onion
  • 20ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 250ml plant-based white wine
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp plant-based butter
  • 285ml cold water
  • 250g orzo pasta
  • To serve
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • sprinkle of nooch (nutritional yeast) or plant-based parmesan
  • small bag of fresh rocket
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • You’ll need
  • Large heavy-based saucepan with lid

Make the meatball mixture by finely chopping the parsley and set aside. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Soak the chi a seeds in a bowl with four tablespoons of cold water for about 10 minutes until it forms a gel. Place all the ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl and mix together with your hands, being sure not to over-mix, as it will make the meatballs dense-textured and heavy.

Make the meatballs. Pinch out pieces of the mix and form them into walnut-size balls, putting them on a clean plate as you go. You should get about 20 meatballs.

Make the sauce. Peel and finely dice the onion. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan that's large enough to take the meatballs and pasta. Add the chopped onion with the salt and cook over a medium heat, stirring every now and again, for about 10 minutes until softened. Add the wine and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, paprika, chilli flakes,
vinegar, brown sugar and butter. Fill both the empty tins with the water, give them a good swill, pour into the pan, bring the sauce to a simmer, put the lid on and cook for 30–35 minutes.

Drop the meatballs gently into the simmering sauce. Bring back to the boil, turn the heat down again to a simmer, put the lid back on and simmer the meatballs for 15 minutes.

Tip in the orzo, stir gently and increase the heat to bring the mixture back to a bubble. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked. You will have to stir it occasionally throughout this time to make sure the orzo isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Chop the parsley (to serve). Spoon the pasta into bowls, sprinkle with parsley, nooch and a handful of rocket, add a squeeze of lemon juice and tuck in.

Recipe from: BOSH! Meat: Over 100 Outrageously tasty recipes by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby (HQ, HarperCollins). RRP £22. Food photography: Lizzie Mayson

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