I feel a deep sense of satisfaction when I cook something really delicious out of odds and ends. I know, as a cook, my store cupboard will be a little more exotic, perhaps, than most but even if you have to go out and buy a couple of these ingredients you won’t regret a thing. My freezer is stocked with a few frozen vegetables-always chopped onion, peas of course, baby broad beans and frozen mushrooms. The latter are from Waitrose. If you wanted to be terribly grand you could buy some frozen porcini (Fine Food Specialist supply these) but the dried porcini give the orzotto ample flavour as it is so save your money this time.
- 8g dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 50g frozen chopped onion or ½ fresh onion, finely chopped
- 150g frozen mushrooms, or fresh, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 3 tablespoons dry vermouth
- 175g orzo pasta
- 500-600ml vegetable stock
- 3 artichokes in oil, drained and roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons double cream
- Put the porcini in a Nutribullet-style blender or coffee grinder and blend the mushrooms to a fine dust. Set aside for the moment.
- Heat the oil in a wide saucepan or sauté pan and add the onion, mushrooms and garlic. If they are frozen you’ll find there is quite a lot of moisture as they defrost and cook. Don’t worry, just continue to cook the vegetables until the liquid has evaporated. If you have fresh vegetables you may need to add a touch more oil to prevent them catching. Cook for 10 minutes until soft.
- Add the vermouth, turn the heat up and reduce until almost no excess liquid remains. Stir in the porcini dust, orzo and about 300ml of the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down a little and simmer, stirring regularly, for about 7-8 minutes. The orzo should be quite dry by now.
- Stir in about 200 ml of the remaining stock and the artichokes and simmer for a further 11-12 minutes or until the orzo is cooked but still has a bit of texture. If the orzotto is looking a little dry after 10 minutes add the remaining stock. Stir in the double cream and taste and season with salt and ground black pepper.