Cherry Tomato Orzo With Spinach Breadcrumbs

Cherry tomatoes, my favourite tomatoes, and yet they always seem to end up in a salad of some kind. Pasta dishes these days seem to only want to include plumb tomatoes. It’s all been a lie! Cherry tomatoes make the best tomato sauce.

The cherry tomatoes make a amazing silky and sweet tomato sauce that really is as easy as it gets. The trick is to leave the tomatoes cooking slowly for at least 30 minutes or so. At this point they’ve broken down into a deliciously smooth sauce.

What better pasta to go with a smooth tomato sauce then the wonderful orzo. There is not enough orzo recipes around if you ask me. This wonderful grain like pasta is chewy and aldente. Giving a much needed bite to the pasta sauce.

To top it off we’ve got a crunchy spinach breadcrumb topping. This easy zero waste recipe uses up all of your stale bread in no time. And it works with any limp veg that you need to get rid of – parsley, mint, spinach, chard, e.t.c. Plus it’s wonderfully versatile and goes over pasta, tray bakes, soups, pretty much anything you throw at it. It’s like a magic ingredient to add an extra dimension to any dish.

When to eat

Tomato season in the uk is a fickle thing. You’ll get the best cherry tomatoes from mid June to September. If you’re eating this dish outside of that season try switching out the cherry tomatoes for some canned plumb tomatoes and adding a few teaspoons of sugar.

Recipe

Serves 4
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

This meal is around 84% less polluting than the average UK meal.

  • Eating this recipe will save around 2.49 KG CO2e per person.
  • That’s equivalent to the emissions produced driving 20 KM in a modern car.

Ingredients

  • 500 g Cherry Tomatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 100 ml Olive Oil
  • 4 Banana Shallots
  • 5 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 300 g Orzo

Spinach Breadcrumbs

  • 75 g Stale White Bread
  • 75 g Spinach
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Lemon (juiced)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200˚c.
  • Peel and thinly slice the 4 shallots and 5 cloves of garlic. Heat the olive oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat. Toss in the garlic and shallots. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until the shallots are soft.
  • Tip in the paprika and tomato paste into the pan and mix well with the oil. Then pour in the cherry tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes for about a minute before squashing each of them with a potato masher or fork. You need to squash them enough so they release their juices. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. At this point the cherry tomatoes should be nicely broken down into a thick and smooth sauce. Season to taste.
  • Whilst the tomatoes are cooking, prepare your breadcrumbs. Break and chop the stale white bread into 1 inch pieces and place onto a baking tray. Arrange the spinach alongside the bread on the tray. Chop the remaining 2 cloves of garlic and sprinkle over the bread and spinach. Drizzle the tray with the remaining olive oil and lemon juice and season with a good helping of salt. Bake the tray contents for 10 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and crispy and spinach quite dry. Remove tray and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the tray contents into a food processor and blitz until the contents are a fine breadcrumb. Pour the breadcrumbs back onto the over tray and spread out evenly to allow to dry further.
  • Now cook the orzo. Place the orzo in a medium saucepan and cover with salted boiling water. Simmer for 10 – 12 minutes or until the orzo is aldente.
  • Once the sauce is cooked, pour the orzo into the sauce. Mix well to combine into a smooth porridge-like consistency.
  • Serve the orzo in individual bowls with the spinach breadcrumbs poured over the top.
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