Cooking, Light Bites
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Orzo with Butternut Squash, Spinach and Buffalo Ricotta

I wasn’t going to blog this dish. As I keep saying, and I am sure it’s getting dull by now, my cooking lately has been haphazard, last minute and subject to me destroying pots and sustaining injuries. This is fairly normal behaviour, certainly on the injury front, but you know you’re cooking too late when you put some rice and lentils on the hob and then walk away like it never happened, wondering 10 minutes later, what is that burning smell? Sheesh.

Worry not, I have been eating well, and I am certainly not fading away. I am completely spoiled for choice at lunchtime, from Brindisa stews and sandwiches, to Moro’s spiced lamb, Sporeboys risotto, Gujarati Rasoi’s wonderful veggie curries and Ginnan’s chicken katsu curry. That’s but the tip of what’s available in Exmouth Market. The evenings are another story, they have been busy, and I am not complaining, it’s good to be busy, but I have been missing those stolen kitchen hours here and there poking in cupboards and making something new.

So, to rectify, and also in an attempt to fight the descent of a cold, I did some cooking last week, a little not a lot. Just some quick lunches and salads with some very fresh colourful food in. Salads with peashoots and enormous heirloom tomatoes, pumpkins for tis the season, and some random dishes created from what I’ve been stashing in the fridge and cupboard over the last few weeks. Last night I made one such dish and it was really nice. I decided not to post it though as I took a photo in passing, and it was crap, and I wasn’t much in the mood for styling.

MY! What a long rambling story. I am gettting there, promise!

So, I sat down to eat it, and I thought, this tastes nice! The creamy orzo played nicely with the sweet and caramelised butternut squash and the crispy sage taunted all of it with it’s butteriness. It was lovely! And I ate lots.

So, how do you create this wonder of a random dish? The quantities are flexible and I would encourage you to experiment. I fried an eschalion shallot and one clove of garlic, finely chopped, 2 slices of pancetta and 200g peeled and diced butternut squash for about 7-8 minutes until the butternut squash is cooked.  Add 2 tablespoons of ricotta, I used buffalo but cows is fine. Then add a few handfuls of washed and chopped spinach and 100g of cooked orzo (cooked according to packet instructions) and cook until the orzo is warmed through and the spinach cooked but still bright green. To crown it, shred and fry some sage in butter, and when crispy, stir through and serve.If I had them toasted pine nuts would have been a lovely addition.

This eats well hot or cold. Enjoy!




  1. oh yummy! This is the kind of thing I like to eat for lunch, although I usually end up eating it at about 10am as I can’t wait any longer! I know how you feel about not having any time, you are always keeping us entertained with those lunch tweets though!

  2. Lovely flavours in here!

    This is the kind of thing I’d make a huge batch of – dinner first, and lunch the next day! But maybe that’s because I don’t have Brindisa next door ;)

  3. ttfn300 – thanks! It’s very autumnal and cosy, really simple too.

    Helen – me too, this is that luinch that I actually ate at 10am last week! lol. I’ll keep the lunch tweets going :-)

    kittie – thanks! I make a vat, eat some before bed, then a bucketful for lunch. It’s a little overindulgent, I know. I really must stop eating so much!

  4. Nothing wrong with posting this kind of recipe – it’s the sort of thing I cook most of all and am always looking for new ideas!

  5. This sounds great, butternut is so huge that I always have loads left and am never sure what to do with it. I suspect this might be making an appearance soon!

  6. Hi Su-Lin! True, it’s the sort of thing that I cook all the time too :-) Thanks.

    Ginger – thanks! So true about butternut, I lump leftovers in soups, stews and salads. I’ve started buying little ones but they’re so much work to peel and chop! :-) Let me know how you get on with it.

    aforkfulofspaghetti – great! Winter is really starting to descend upon is isn’t it? Snow yesterday?!

  7. Sometimes these random empty-the-fridge dishes just work out really well don’t they? Love butternut squash and sage together. There’s just not enough sage in the blogosphere :-)

  8. Indeed, they can be real surprises. It’s a good combination and agreed, I alone could use it alot more :-)

Over to you! Your comments - I would love to hear from you :)