Friday, December 2, 2011

Spicy Broccoli Risoni

Risoni is also known as orzo in other parts of the world. It's a small type of pasta that is shaped like rice which makes it perfect for using in pasta salads, soups, oven bakes and one pot pasta dishes. I haven't tried out any new recipes with risoni/orzo for quite some time and when I saw a post during Vegan MoFo called "Spicy Broccoli Orzo", I bookmarked it immediately.

The recipe from Big Mike Eat's interested me on a few different levels. The ingredients were certainly an appealing factor and I was also fascinated that Micah had used a wok to cook his meal in. I was tempted to follow suit but rather than pull out my wok, I stuck to my standard pasta cooking method using a large saucepan. I made a few changes to Micah's recipe by adding in an onion, using fresh garlic rather than powdered and swapping the dried rosemary and thyme for some basil.

This quick and simple one pot meal was declared to be a success by 2/3 of the household. My son and I loved it and the man was not so keen. We enjoyed the combination of chilli, lemon and basil but the man thought that the lemon flavour was too strong and also grumbled about there being too much black pepper. He really dislikes pepper so I usually put minimal amounts in dishes and add more to my own plate at the end. At least there was some home-made garlic bread on the side to keep him happy!

Spicy Broccoli Risoni (Adapted from Big Mike's Eats)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup risoni/orzo pasta
3 cups water
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 head broccoli
2 tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and black pepper, to taste

Chop the head of broccoli into small florets and cut the stalks into bite-sized pieces.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium and fry the onion for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir through the garlic and cook for a minute, then add the risoni and stir thoroughly.

Pour in the water and add the dried basil, chilli flakes and sea salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Stir through the broccoli and tomatoes and cook uncovered for another 3 minutes. The liquid should be absorbed after this time. Add the lemon juice and season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste.


  1. Risoni is one of my favourite types of pasta :) This recipe looks great - definitely a new way for me to try it!

  2. I don't think I have ever cooked with risoni - is it weird that it looks like risotto to me - which is a good thing! Funny the man doesn't like black pepper but you put lots of chilli in your meals - I much prefer black pepper to chilli - in moderation though of course

  3. Beautiful risoni/orzo! I can definitely see working this into my weeknight meal plan :)

  4. Kari, it's nice to know there's another risoni lover out there. :)

    Johanna, I actually giggled at my son the other night when he commented that it was a nice risotto (he normally hates risotto). So no, I don't think your comment is weird and I was planning to play around with this concept too. The man is really strange when it comes to pepper but he does loves chilli.

    Thanks Jes, hope you give it a try! :D