One-pot buttery orzo with leeks, baby marrows and Parmesan

One-pot buttery orzo with leeks, baby marrows and Parmesan

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  • 6
  • Easy
  • 10-15 minutes
  • 25 minutes

"Apart from the convenience factor, I am amazed every time at how well the pasta texture and sauce factor turn out for one-pot pasta dishes – they’re not just gimmicks, they certainly work! You can use whatever shape pasta you love for this recipe, but orzo reminds me of risotto, and I love that every mouthful is just as creamy and full of goodies as the rest. An easy, flavourful, informal, midweek dinner."


  • 3 T butter, plus extra
  • 1 small bunch leeks (about 200 g), white part only, finely sliced
  • 2–3 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • about 300 g baby marrows, roughly grated or shredded
  • 3–4 sprigs fresh thyme, woody stalks discarded
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • 500 g dried orzo pasta
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 small lemon, zested
  • 75 g Parmesan, finely grated
  • a small bunch fresh parsley, chopped, for serving

Cooking Instructions

1. Melt the butter in a large, wide saucepan over a medium heat and fry the leeks until soft and fragrant but not brown – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stirring to mix, then add the baby marrow and thyme.

2. Increase the heat to high, then fry, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until the baby marrows start to soften and some darker bits start to form on the bottom of the pan.

3. Add 1 cup stock to deglaze the pan, stirring, then add the remaining stock, the milk and pasta. Stir, then bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally (the pasta tends to stick to the bottom quite easily), for 8–10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente, seasoning generously with salt and pepper.

4. Stir through the lemon zest and half the Parmesan. Remove from the heat and leave to stand and thicken for a few minutes – you want a saucy result for now, because the pasta will continue to absorb more liquid on standing. Serve hot in bowls, topped with a little knob of butter, the remaining Parmesan and a scattering of parsley.

Find more pasta recipes here.

Extracted with permission from Simply Seasonal: recipes inspired by nature, by Ilse van der Merwe, photography by Tasha Seccombe, Published by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House South Africa (Pty) Ltd.

Ilse van der Merwe Recipe by: Ilse van der Merwe
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Ilse van der Merwe, a.k.a. The Food Fox, is a food writer, stylist, television host and blogger. She is the author of two books: Cape Mediterranean: The way we love to eat and Simply Seasonal: Recipes inspired by nature. Follow her on Instagram @the_foodfox.

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