- Handful walnut pieces
- Knob of butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
- 160g orzo
- 200ml dry white wine, plus an extra splash
- 500ml fresh chicken stock, kept hot on the hob, plus 1-2 ladles boiling water (optional)
- Handful fresh parsley, quite finely chopped
- 85g gorgonzola dolce, crumbled
- Juice ½ lemon
- Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Put the walnuts in a baking tray, then toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes until fragrant. Chop, then set aside. Turn off the oven.
- Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Once sizzling, add the onion with some salt and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add the leeks and cook for 5 minutes or until softened, then add the orzo and stir to coat in the butter. Turn up the heat, pour in the 200ml wine and bubble until almost completely evaporated.
- Pour in the hot stock, 2 ladles at a time. Once the liquid is almost gone, add more. There’s no need to stir as much as with a rice risotto – the odd turn will do. Keep adding the stock this way until you run out. If the orzo needs more liquid to cook, add a couple of ladles of boiling water.
- Once the orzo is just cooked and the sauce is creamy, stir in most of the walnuts and parsley, and all the gorgonzola and lemon juice, plus an extra splash of wine. Taste, season, divide among plates and top with the remaining nuts and parsley. Serve.
- You could replace the gorgonzola with a fresh, rindless goat’s cheese.
- Orzo is a short pasta the shape and size of rice, and orzotto is simply ‘risotto’ made with orzo instead of rice. It doesn’t need constant stirring but, like a traditional risotto, it needs to be served as soon as it’s cooked – so make sure you have all your prep done before you start cooking.
- An Italian white with herby hints: gavi or arneis.