500g orzo durum wheat pasta
2 red onions
1 large carrot
1 small leek
200g asparagus tips
20 cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
200ml vegetable stock
150ml white wine
30g butter, cut into cubes
60g parmesan, grated
Salt, pepper, parsley and chives
Cut the onion and leek into fine slices, carrot and celeriac into 1.5 cm cubes, asparagus into 3-4 cm long tips, chop the garlic and leave the cherry tomatoes whole.
Meanwhile cook the orzo pasta in 5 litres of boiling salted water to ¾ al dente (do not cook fully as it will cook more later in the recipe). Drain and set aside.
In a large, deep frying pan heat up some olive oil, add the onion and leeks and cook for 5 minutes giving a nice color. Then add the carrot and celeriac cubes. Cover with greaseproof paper and continue to cook until they are softened and caramelize to a nice golden color. Add the garlic, and white wine, nearly cooked orzo pasta and the vegetable stock. Then add the asparagus tips and cherry tomatoes. If necessary adding more stock making sure it does not dry out; it should be moist and slightly runny at this point.
When ready take off the heat and add the cream, small cubes of butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with parmesan and chopped parsley and chives.
Leek and Nettle Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 knob of butter
1 potato large (preferably ‘Golden Wonder’ but any will do)
750ml vegetable stock
2 handfuls of freshly cut nettle tops
Pepper to taste
Steep the nettles in salted water and then chop the leeks, potato and onions. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil and knob of butter in saucepan. Add chopped onion, potato & leeks.
Sweat over low heat covered with grease proof paper for 8 to10 mins, stirring frequently adding a little water if vegetables become dry. When vegetables are well sweated add the vegetable stock. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 mins.
Add washed nettle tops and cook for a further 5 to 7 mins until nettles are soft. Liquidise and serve adding pepper to taste.