Orzo and Meatballs

Orzo and meatballs.jpg

This is a super delicious, easy week day, one-pot dinner. Not too much fuss and the end result amazing and so moreish.


500g Beef mince

1 Eggs, lightly beaten

3 x 15ml flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 x 15ml Breadcrumbs

4 x 15ml finely grated Parmesan

1½ tsp Sea salt

2 Cloves garlic, grated


1l water

2 x 15ml Regular oil

1 Medium Onion, finely chopped

2 x 15ml Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 tsp dried oregano

4 x 15ml Red Vermouth

1 x Tinned Baby tomatoes

1½ tsp Sea salt flakes

275g Orzo


Line a large baking sheet with cling film, then 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.

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, putting them on your lined tray as you go. You should get about 30 meatballs.

Fill a measuring jug with 1 litre of cold water and put near the stove.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based casserole or pan that comes with a lid and is large enough to take the meatballs and pasta, too. Cook the chopped onion over a medium heat, stirring every now and again, for about 10 minutes, or until completely softened, then stir in the 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. I like to squish the tomatoes for more flavour. Half-fill the empty tins with water from the jug you have at the ready, give them a good swill, and pour into the pan, along with the rest of the water and the salt. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down, clamp on the lid and leave to simmer gently for 10 minutes.

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 20 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.

Serve in shallow bowls, sprinkled with parsley, and with Parmesan on the table alongside.


Nigella Lawson


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