Herbed chicken with orzo pasta
Orzo pasta salad is delicious served warm or cold.
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.
600g skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 tablespoon chicken spice mix (see recipe below)
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 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes 1 cup chicken (or vegetable) stock 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon brown sugar
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.
Nadia Lim’s herbed chicken with ratatouille and orzo pasta.