therzo (small pasta shapes like rice grains), cooked almost like risotto, is a staple among Greeks and Cypriots – we call it kritharaki. It’s often served with anything from shredded halloumi or feta cheese (I love roasting it) to – when I’m feeling a little extra extravagant – butter and garlic king prawns.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
four to six
- olive oil
- 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- Half a teaspoon of ground spices
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
- 1 x 400 g can diced tomatoes
- 1 liter vegetable broth
- 250 grams of barley
- Half a teaspoon of fine sugar
- 200gm feta cheese block
- 1 lemon
- 3 sprigs oregano (or ½ teaspoon dried oregano)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 70 grams ground rocket
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180°C. 6. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Add finely chopped onion and garlic and saute for 15 minutes.
- Add the ground allspice and ground chili flakes, then add the chopped tomatoes, broth, orzo and caster sugar after a few minutes. Season generously and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to simmer.
- Cover the pan and cook gently for 25 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Meanwhile, place the drained feta cheese in a small heatproof dish, and top with a cross shape. Finely grate the lemon peel and pick the oregano leaves (or sprinkle with dried oregano). Season and sprinkle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Rub the flavorings into the feta cheese and pop in the oven for 10 minutes, until they begin to turn golden around the edges.
- Sprinkle with honey and return to the oven for three to five minutes, until sticky and slightly golden.
- When the orzo is ready, stir it last and leave it on the stove, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.
- Brush the watercress with lemon juice and a little oil, season and serve on the orzo side with toasted crumbled feta cheese on top of everything.