BACON & ORZO STUFFED MUSHROOMS AND PEPPERS (serves 3)
6 rashers of smoked back bacon, finely chopped
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
half a tsp dried basil
freshly ground black pepper
2 balls mozzarella cheese, 1 finely diced, 1 sliced thickly
2 red peppers
3 Portobello mushrooms
a handful of mature cheddar, grated.
1. Place the bacon into a dry frying pan that has been heated to a moderate heat and fry the bacon until the moisture has totally evaporated and the fat has begun to render out. Once the bacon begins to caramelise and turn golden, remove to a bowl using a slotted spoon, to retain as much of the bacon fat as possible in the pan.
2. Add the shallots to the pan and reduce the heat slightly. Cook, stirring regularly, until softened and beginning to take on colour. Add them to the bacon in the bowl and allow to cool while you cook the orzo, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once cooked, spread evenly out on a plate, to cool.
3. Once everything has cooled but is not cold, add the parsley, basil and a good pinch of freshly ground black pepper to the bacon/shallot mixture and stir to combine.
4. Add the orzo, taking care not to "drown" the bacon mixture with orzo. You need to have a 50:50 sort of mix, which may result in your having some orzo left over, which you can make into a little pasta salad for your lunch.
5. Add the one ball of mozzarella that has been finely cubed to the bowl and make sure to give the stuffing a good stir so that all the flavours have as good a chance to combine as possible.
6. Slice the pepper in half so that it will lay flat on a baking tray. Remove the seeds and pith from the inside of the pepper, but keep the stalk base intact or your stuffing will all fall out.
7. Remove the stalk from the mushroom by carefully cutting it free. You don't want a huge hole in the middle of your mushroom! Turn the mushroom over and cut a cross into the crown, which should go right through. This will allow any excess liquid to escape. Place it, frill side up, onto the baking tray.
8. Now divide the stuffing mix between all the mushrooms and pepper halves, pressing it firmly into each.
9. Place a sprinkle of cheddar cheese onto each - a little more on the peppers than on the mushrooms.
10. Place a round of mozzarella cheese on top of the cheddar on the mushrooms - you can add mozzarella to the peppers too, if you like.
11. Place into a pre-heated oven at 180degC/350degF/Gas 4 for 40 minutes.
Serve with sweet potato mash and peas.