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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, deseeded and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 125g / 4½oz orzo pasta
  • 450ml / 16floz hot unsalted or weak chicken stock
  • 250g / 9oz passata (sieved tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips or 2 ready cooked chicken breasts
  • A handful of basil leaves (optional)

Method

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a deep frying pan, add the onion and pepper and fry for 3–4 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and paprika and fry for 30 seconds, then add the sugar, balsamic vinegar and orzo. Stir to coat the pasta in the mixture, then add the stock and passata. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Add the thyme and cherry tomatoes and stir until the tomatoes have softened slightly.
  4. Season the chicken strips with salt and pepper (if using) and fry them in the remaining oil until lightly golden and cooked through. Alternatively add the ready cooked chicken cut into strips and heat through.
  5. Add them to the pasta and serve with steamed broccoli florets and baby carrots. Chop the basil leaves and add with the chicken (if using).
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