I’d had some wild garlic pesto knocking around the fridge, some sausages which needed cooking and my Swiss chard was on the point of bolting so it was a case of use it or lose it. Such is the way so many recipes-or mine at least-are developed. The odd thing is, on the very same day the weather took a turn for the worse, the skies were leaden and the wind bitter and this bowl of savoury comfort was exactly what I wanted and needed to eat. Keen meat eaters may want to add a couple more sausage to the recipe and you can use a classic (homemade please) pesto if you haven’t managed to make a wild garlic version. You can find the recipe for wild garlic pesto in the Sauces section on the website.
- 6 pork sausages
- 2 tablespoons wild garlic pesto plus extra for serving
- ½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 200g Swiss chard, washed and dried
- 200g orzo pasta
- 600ml chicken stock
- 100ml whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Slit the sausages and remove the skins. Put the sausagemeat in a bowl and add the pesto. Mix well until thoroughly incorporated. With slightly damp hands roll the mixture into 12 balls.
- Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan or large frying pan which has a lid, and brown the meatballs for 7-8 minutes, turning the balls regularly to colour evenly. Transfer to a dish.
- Cut the chard stalks from the leaves and roughly chop each separately. Pour off all but about one tablespoon of fat and over a low heat add the stalks to the pan. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring often. Add the leaves and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Stir in the orzo and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, stir, turn the heat down and cover the pan with a lid. Leave to simmer for five minutes.
- Add the meatballs to the pan and continue to cook (lid on) for about 12-15 minutes until the orzo is cooked but still has a little bite. Stir in the cream and lemon juice and taste and season with salt and ground black pepper. Just before serving sprinkle the dish with flat-leaf parsley and a tablespoon or two of wild garlic pesto.