This is the perfect time for asparagus, and we grow some of the best here in the UK. This creamy orzo dish is a sort of hybrid between a risotto and a pasta – perfectly indulgent yet fresh with the spring vegetables and lemon zest. ‘Pangrattato’ literally translates as ‘poor man’s parmesan’ in Italian, and these fried, crunchy breadcrumbs are used in the place of parmesan across an array of Italian dishes.
- Start by heating up a big glug of olive oil in your pan and then add the shallot and fry until soft and translucent. Then add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes.
- Next add your orzo and fry in the shallot and garlic for a couple of minutes before adding a glass of nice white wine. Let the alcohol bubble off and liquid evaporate before adding the stock. Let the orzo gently cook in the stock.
- While the orzo is cooking you can make the pangratatto – blitz some stale sourdough in the food processor to make breadcrumbs. Then heat some oil in a pan and add the breadcrumbs, garlic, and chilli flakes. Fry gently until the breadcrumbs go golden and toasted. Then take off the heat and add the lemon zest.
- Once your orzo is nearly cooked you can add your vegetables – chopped asparagus, peas and the finely chopped pistachios. Let these cook for 2- 3 minutes until just tender. If the orzo is looking a little dry then add a splash more water.
- Take the orzo off the heat and stir through the mascarpone, a knob of butter and the grated pecorino. Add a generous pinch of Maldon Salt and cracked black pepper to finish.
- Spoon the orzo into bowls and scatter over the pangratatto.