° Meatballs with orzo

A recipe from the QUEEN Nigella Lawson this serves 4-6 and can be found on her website or in her book At My Table


°500g minced beef

°1 large egg, lightly beaten

°3 x 15ml tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus more to serve

°2 x 15ml tbsp breadcrumbs

°4 x 15ml tbsp finely grated parmesan, plus more to serve

°1½ tsp sea salt flakes

°2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced


°1 ltr cold water

°2 x 15ml tbsp regular olive oil

°1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

°2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

°2 tsp dried oregano

°4 x 15ml tbsp (60ml) Red Vermouth (I use red wine vinegar)

°2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes

°1½ tsp sea salt flakes

°275g orzo pasta


1.Put all the ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl and mix together, gently, with your hands. Don’t overmix, as it will make the meatballs dense-textured and heavy.

2. Pinch out pieces of this mixture and roll between the palms of your hand to form meatballs that are somewhere between a cherry tomato and a walnut in size.

3.Fry off your meatballs in a pan (with a lid and is big enough for full recipe) with a little oil until browned, then remove from the pan.

4. Cook the chopped onion in a little oil on a medium heat, stirring every now and again, until completely softened, add parsley and oregano and cook, stirring for a minute or so before adding the vermouth. Let this bubble up for a minute and then tip in the tomatoes. Pour in the water and the salt. Bring to the boil, reduce  heat, add lid and leave to simmer gently for 10 minutes.

5. Uncover the pan and drop the meatballs gently into the simmering sauce. Bring it back up to the boil, then turn the heat down again, put the lid back on and simmer the meatballs for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, tip in the orzo, stir gently and turn up the heat to bring back to a bubble. Cook at a robust simmer for 10–15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked. You will have to give the odd gentle stir throughout this time to make sure the orzo isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.

6.Serve with parmesan and the remaining chopped parsley.

This can be frozen before adding the Orzo. Then just defrost and add your pasta, so quick and easy and you can freeze in batches for one.

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