2tspdried Italian Herbs, or any combination of dried parsley, oregano, basil
2beef bouillon cubes(Note 1)
1/2 to 1tspsalt(to taste)
1 1/2cupsdried orzo / risoni
To serve (optional)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Finely chopped parsley
Heat the oil in a large skillet/fry pan (or pot) over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until translucent.
Add the mince and turn the heat up to high. Cook the mince, breaking it up as you go.
When the mince is browned, add the remaining ingredients except the orzo. When the liquid comes to a simmer (it might bubble and spit slightly) add the orzo/risoni.
Give it a quick stir then turn the heat down to medium low.
Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently towards the end to ensure the orzo/risoni doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. If your liquid is evaporating too quickly, just add a slosh of hot water (tap or boiling).
Remove the risoni from the heat. The risoni should be a teeny bit hard still and it should be very saucy when you take it off the stove. (Note 2)
Check for seasoning (salt), then give it a good stir.
Serve immediately, while it's piping hot and nice and saucy, garnished with freshly grated parmesan and parsley, if desired.
1. Boullion cubes are stock cubes. You could use beef stock (or even chicken stock) instead of water and skip the boullion cubes.2. Because orzo / risoni is so small, it goes from perfectly cooked to overcooked in a flash. So for perfectly cooked orzo, take it off the stove at 10 minutes while the orzo is a teeny bit hard still. While you are testing for seasoning and serving it out, the residual heat will finish cooking it so it is firm but tender (al dente), rather than soft and mushy (overcooked).That is also why it is quite saucy when you take it off the stove. The sauce reduces a lot quite quickly, through both evaporation and being absorbed by the orzo. So by the time you serve it, you still have enough sauce.3. Tomato passata is just pureed tinned tomatoes. Nowadays it is readily available in supermarkets, usually alongside pasta sauces. It costs just a tiny bit more, sometimes the same, as canned tomatoes. If you can't find it, puree canned tomatoes or use crushed canned tomatoes.4. Nutrition assuming this serves 5 people. 1 1/2 cups of dried risoni does not sound like much but you will be surprised how much it swells when cooked.