Orzo-Stuffed Capsicums with Basil & Tomatoes

Serves 8

8 medium capsicums (use a mix of different colours)

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

11⁄2 cups orzo (risoni) pasta

4 cups vegetable stock

200g baby spinach leaves

3⁄4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

250g haloumi cheese, grated

500g truss cherry tomatoes, left on stems, cut into sections

Lemon-Infused Olive Oil 

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, sliced

1 tbsp finely grated

lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Slice 2cm off the top of each capsicum, then remove the membranes and seeds from inside, but leave the stems on the tops. Place the capsicums and the tops on 2 foil- lined and greased baking trays. Lightly brush with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they are slightly softened.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and cook the onion and garlic for 3 minutes or until softened and lightly golden. Stir in the orzo, then add the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a fast simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until the orzo is just tender and most of the liquid has absorbed. Season to taste with sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the baby spinach leaves and toss for 1-2 minutes, or until just wilted. Add the halved olives and the lemon juice and zest. Fill the capsicums with the orzo mixture (approximately 1 cup per capsicum) then sprinkle the grated haloumi over the top.

Place the cherry tomatoes onto the trays in between the capsicums. Bake the capsicums in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve capsicums with the roast cherry tomatoes on the side. Garnish with the basil leaves and drizzle with a little of the lemon- infused olive oil if desired.

To make the lemon-infused olive oil, add the extra-virgin olive oil and the sliced garlic to a small saucepan and gently heat over a low heat to warm through. Remove from the heat, then add the grated lemon zest.

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