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. Try it out with this incredible orzo dish, perfect for lounging in the afternoon sun.
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.