Limahl As­mall, au­thor of Tiny Bud­get Cook­ing, shares two de­li­cious and easy-to-fol­low recipes with the same three main in­gre­di­ents as their base


Three main in­gre­di­ents, two de­li­cious recipes – all for just 86p per per­son

Pan­grat­tato pan-fried orzo cakes with but­tery chicken, peas & spinach

Pan­grat­tato is a blend of bread­crumbs, lemon zest and gar­lic that Ital­ians sprin­kle lib­er­ally over their spaghetti. Here, the pan­grat­tato is used as a coat­ing for the orzo cakes and cre­ates a gor­geous golden crust. Serve the cakes with the but­tery chicken and peas for a tasty week­end brunch.

Q Serves 2 Q Prep 15-20 mins Q Cook 30 mins Q 86p a por­tion

200g orzo 3 slices bread 1 gar­lic clove zest from ½ lemon, plus

a lit­tle ex­tra to serve 2 chicken thighs 1 tbsp but­ter 50g ched­dar, diced 1 egg 1 tbsp olive oil 2 hand­fuls frozen peas 2 hand­fuls spinach 1 tsp lemon juice

SWAP SHOP If you don’t have orzo,

use 200g rice If you don’t have chicken thighs, use 2 chicken breasts If you don’t have spinach,

use 1 hand­ful kale

1 Boil a ket­tle of wa­ter. Put 200g orzo in a pot and cover with salted boil­ing wa­ter. Sim­mer on a medium heat for 15 mins.

2 Mean­while make the pan­grat­tato. Add the bread to a large bowl and blitz with a hand blender to fine bread­crumbs. Very finely mince the gar­lic and add to the bread­crumbs, along with a pinch of sea­son­ing and the lemon zest. Mix well, then pour 2/ 3 onto a din­ing plate and leave 1/ 3 in the bowl.

3 Re­move the skin and bones from the chicken thighs, and slice the meat into 2-3 cm pieces.

Melt the but­ter over a medium-low heat, add the chicken and a pinch of sea­son­ing, and gen­tly cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally.

4 When the orzo is cooked, drain well and add to the pan­grat­tato in the bowl. Stir, then add the cheese and egg. Season, then stir to­gether un­til thick and sticky.

5 Take a hand­ful of the mix­ture and com­press into a ball with both hands. Care­fully press each side of the cake into the pan­grat­tato on the plate and flat­ten into a small, thick patty. Place on a chop­ping board, then rinse and dry your hands. Re­peat this process to form 4- 6 orzo cakes.

6 Heat the olive oil in a non­stick fry­ing pan. Care­fully add the pat­ties and cook in batches for 4 mins each side over a medium heat un­til crisp and golden.

7 Af­ter turn­ing the orzo cakes, add the peas and spinach to the pan with the chicken. Cook for 4 mins, then add the lemon juice and season. Serve with the crispy orzo cakes. Gar­nish with a tsp lemon zest if avail­able.

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