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Pea and Ham Orzo

Jamie Oliver is known for his risottos. So we try to mix things up... this recipe is a great alternative to having the stand over a risotto and continuously stirring and it's ready in half the time. Orzo is rice shaped pasta that gives a really creamy risotto-like dish at the end. It's cooked just the same except all the stock is bunged in at once and you just let it do its thing. Simple!

Ingredients & RecipePrint


  • 1 large shallot
  • a few of cloves of garlic
  • a glug of olive oil
  • cooked ham joint (200g)
  • orzo pasta (400g)
  • 1 lemon
  • half a glass of white wine (100ml, optional)
  • chicken stock (1 litre)
  • frozen peas, defrosted (300g)
  • a knob of butter
  • a dollop crème fraîche
  • a wedge of parmesan
  • a bag of watercress


peel and mince the shallot and the garlic.
heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and chuck in the shallot and garlic to fry gently and soften over a medium heat.
dice the cooked ham into small cubes (about 1/2cm x 1/2cm).
add the ham and the orzo then toss in the oil to coat, turning up the heat for a few minutes.
finely grate the zest of the lemon into the pan and season everything well.
splash the wine into the pan and let it reduce a little.
pour all of the stock into the pan.
simmer for about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is almost dry and orzo is cooked.
remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the peas, butter, crème fraîche, a squeeze of lemon juice and some grated parmesan.
rest the pasta for 2 minutes before serving in big pasta bowls with a small handful of watercress, extra lemon and parmesan for everyone to add to taste.

serves 4

Pea and Ham Orzo

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