A delicious veggie-based family meal –warm and hearty for cold winter evenings
Recipe and styling by Illanique van Aswegen
Photograph by Adel Ferreira
Cheesy baby marrow “meatballs
- 520g baby marrows, coarsely grated
- 280g panko breadcrumbs
- 260g ricotta
- 250ml (1 cup) Parmesan, finely grated + extra, to serve
- 30ml (2 tbsp) fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 20ml (4 tsp) garlic, finely chopped
- 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
- zest of 2 lemons
- 5ml (1 tsp) salt
- pinch freshly ground fine black pepper
- sunflower oil, to shallow-fry
ORZO AND SAUCE
- 185g orzo (pasta rice)
- 10ml (2 tsp) olive oil
- 1 (160g) large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 5ml (1 tsp) garlic, finely chopped
- 15ml (1 tbsp) tomato paste
- 5ml (1 tsp) sugar
- 5ml (1 tsp) smoked chilli flakes
- 125ml (½ cup) red wine
- 1 (400g) tin chopped tomatoes
- 15ml (1 tbsp) balsamic vinegar
- 5ml (1 tsp) fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 300g fresh vine tomatoes
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- handful basil leaves, to garnish
For the “meatballs”, preheat the oven to 200°C. Combine all of the ingredients, except the sunflower oil, and stir through.
Place a large heavy-based pan over medium heat. Add the sunflower oil and spoon mounds of the meatball mixture into the hot oil. (An ice cream scoop works best, as it ensures that the meatballs are evenly shaped and portioned.) Fry the “meatballs” in batches, 2 minutes, on both sides. Transfer to the oven to cook, a further 5 minutes.
For the orzo and spicy red wine sauce, cook the orzo in salted boiling water, 8 – 10 minutes, until tender. Strain through a sieve.
Heat a saucepan over medium heat, and add the olive oil and chopped onion. Sauté, 5 minutes. Stir in the 5ml (1 tsp) finely chopped garlic, tomato paste, sugar and smoked chilli flakes, and sauté, 1 minute. Stir in the wine, tinned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and 5ml (1 tsp) oregano, and simmer, 5 minutes. Add the vine tomatoes, cover with a lid and simmer, 2 minutes. Season to taste.
Top the orzo with the sauce and “meatballs” (reserving the vine tomatoes). Serve with the reserving vine tomatoes from the sauce, and add grated Parmesan and fresh basil.
If the sauce is too spicy for your liking, add a splash of fresh cream to reduce the chillies’ heat.