Herbed chicken with orzo pasta

Orzo pasta salad is de­li­cious served warm or cold.

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Orzo, which means ‘‘bar­ley’’ in Ital­ian, is used most tra­di­tion­ally in soups, but this very ver­sa­tile, rice-shaped pasta has been widely adapted by chefs in Italy and the US for both main cour­ses as well as side dishes.

HERBED CHICKEN

❚ 600g skin­less, bone­less chicken breast ❚ 1 ta­ble­spoon chicken spice mix (see recipe be­low)

RATATOUILLE

❚ 1 red onion, peeled and sliced 1cm ❚ 1 egg­plant, diced 2cm ❚ 1 cap­sicum, core and seeds re­moved and diced 2cm ❚ 2 cloves gar­lic, roughly chopped ❚ 1 ta­ble­spoon chicken spice mix (see recipe be­low) ❚ 1 ta­ble­spoon chopped basil leaves Each week Na­dia gives you an­other easy recipe for your fam­ily and you’ll find all the in­gre­di­ents in My Food Bag. my­food­bag.co.nz ❚ 1 x 400g can chopped toma­toes ❚ 1 cup chicken (or vegetable) stock ❚ 1 tea­spoon bal­samic vine­gar ❚ 1 ta­ble­spoon brown sugar

ORZO PASTA

❚ 400g dried orzo pasta To serve ❚ 50g feta cheese ❚ 2 ta­ble­spoons basil leaves, roughly chopped

CHICKEN SPICE MIX

❚ 2 tea­spoons cumin ❚ 2 tea­spoons smoked pa­prika ❚ 1 tea­spoon gar­lic pow­der ❚ 1 tea­spoon dried oregano ❚ 1 tea­spoon dried basil ❚ 1 tea­spoon dried tar­ragon Pre­heat oven to 200 de­grees Cel­sius. Bring a large pot of salted wa­ter to the boil. Set aside a medium bak­ing dish.

Pat chicken dry with paper tow­els. Rub with first mea­sure of chicken spice mix and a driz­zle of oil and sea­son with salt and pep­per. Heat a driz­zle of oil in a large fry-pan on medium-high heat and cook chicken for about 2 min­utes each side, un­til browned. Trans­fer to a bak­ing dish and set aside. Re­turn same pan to medium heat. Cook onion, egg­plant and cap­sicum for 3-4 min­utes, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til start­ing to soften. Add gar­lic, sec­ond mea­sure of chicken spice mix and first mea­sure of basil. Sea­son with salt and pep­per and cook a fur­ther 1 minute.

Add all re­main­ing ratatouille in­gre­di­ents to pan and sim­mer on low heat for 15-20 min­utes, stir­ring reg­u­larly, un­til sauce is thick and sweet. Sea­son to taste with salt and pep­per.

While the ratatouille is sim­mer­ing, bake chicken for 8-10 min­utes (de­pend­ing on thick­ness), un­til just cooked through. Re­move from oven and cover to rest for 3-4 min­utes. Slice thinly against the grain and re­turn to dish with rest­ing juices.

While chicken bakes, cook pasta ac­cord­ing to packet in­struc­tions, un­til ten­der. Drain well and re­turn to pot with a driz­zle of oil to pre­vent stick­ing.

To serve, di­vide orzo pasta be­tween bowls and top with ratatouille and herbed chicken. Crum­ble over feta cheese and sprin­kle with re­main­ing basil.

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