Tomato risoni / orzo with dill and mozzarella up close site
Tomato risoni / orzo with dill and mozzarella distance site

Tomato risoni /orzo with dill and mozzarella

Risoni or orzo as it is also called, is a type of pasta that I associate fondly with my childhood. It was stirred through milk soups or made with a quick broth and I always found it filling and comforting. Now of course, the dish has come full circle and I now make it for my daughter, sometimes with a broth but more frequently in this style.

Risoni/orzo can be prepared on the stovetop and is much quicker this way, especially if you need to pull together a fast meal. However, over time, I’ve found this preparation more convenient because it involves less stirring and the oven does most of the work.

You can swap the tomato in the dish for red capsicum or use both together, and you can also swap the fresh mozzarella for feta. To serve I sometimes add a tablespoon of sour cream and a little lemon zest.

This tomato risoni /orzo with dill and mozzarella dish is easy and adaptable, and can be served as a main meal or as a side dish.

 

Tomato risoni / orzo with dill and mozzarella portrait site

 

Tomato risoni /orzo with dill and mozzarella

Makes four servings

 

250g ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp sea salt, plus extra to taste
1.5 tbsp of olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Cracked pepper  
1 cup risoni, 195g
1 cup passata, 245ml (rustic kind with seeds visible)
1 1/4 cup water, 210ml, plus extra
1 tsp dried oregano
125g fresh mozzarella, quartered
2 dill stems
Zest of a quarter lemon 
Half a lemon, cut in quarters (to serve)

 

 

Preheat your oven to 180°

 

In an oven dish place the cherry tomatoes, and drizzle with 1.5 tbsp of olive oil, add 1 tsp of sea salt, and six cracks of pepper. Mix everything together then place in the oven for 30 minutes

After 30 minutes the tomatoes will have softened and cooked, remove the dish from the oven and add the risoni, passata and water. Mix everything together well and place the dish back in the oven for a further 15 minutes

After 15 minutes remove the dish from the oven, give the ingredients a stir and check the water levels. If the ingredients are sticking or appear to drying out, add a quarter cup of water, a little drizzle of olive oil, then stir again and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

In the meantime cut the mozzarella roughly into teaspoon sized cubes and set aside.

Now roughly pull the fronds off the dill leaving only the stalks/stem. Cut the two stems finely together with the fronds and set aside

Remove the dish from the oven and add the mozzarella pieces, dill and zest the lemon over the risoni/orzo

Add another drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of dried oregano and stir everything together. Check for taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly.

Serve right away with a squeeze of lemon, and your favourite bread on the side. Tomato risoni /orzo with dill and mozzarella is best eaten the same day.