Orzo pasta with chicken, peas and tarragon

I found this lovely recipe on a really lovely blog called www.lydiagerratt.com and wanted to give it a go because it looked, apart from anything else, really tasty but also Incorporated a lot of the foods that are readily “allowed” on Slimming World. In fact the only ingredient that would be frowned upon is the Extra Virgin Olive Oil but I decided that this could be counted in my daily “syns” allowance (for anyone who isn’t familiar with the concept of SW, syns are the calories that you’re allowed to spend on treats throughout the day to stop you from going completely mad – mine are normally reserved for chocolate but on the odd occasion I have been known to branch out and use them for meals when it’s something really special).

I digress – so I gave the recipe a shot one night, and adapted it ever so slightly by adding the juice of half a lemon. Here’s what it looked like…


The littl’un had a little try and did eat a few mouthfuls but in all honesty ended up eating mostly cornbread…


So here’s what you need…


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove finely chopped

130g roast chicken slices diced or 200g mini chicken fillets cut into small strips

100g frozen peas

20g fresh tarragon leaves finely choppped

300g orzo pasta

Freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano to serve

The juice of Half a lemon (my own adaptation – optional)

And here’s what to do…

Place a large pan that can hold a good 3 litres of water onto a high heat.  When the water starts to boil add a tablespoon of salt and all of the orzo.  If you are making this pasta dish for your baby under one year old, then omit the salt from the pasta water – baby’s kidneys are too small to process added salt. 


The orzo will take at least 7 minutes to cook and the sauce will cook in that time.


Put the peas in a bowl and microwave for 4 minutes on high to defrost and warm up.


Put a dry medium size frying pan on a low heat to warm up as you get the ingredients ready.  Add all the extra virgin olive oil to the warm pan, turn the heat to medium and quickly fry the chopped garlic for about 20 seconds. 


Add the chopped roast chicken, peas and tarragon.  Mix well and turn the heat OFF.  You only want these ingredients to be warmed through; they do not need extra cooking.

If you’re using mini chicken fillets, add the slices to the pan with the olive oil and garlic and fry for approx. 4 mins until the chicken turns white.  Do not overcook them otherwise they will be dry and chewy.   Add the peas and tarragon, mix well and turn the heat off.


Once the orzo is cooked al dente (soft on the outside but slightly hard in the middle), lift the orzo out of its water with a large slotted vegetable scoop and put it into the pan with the sauce.  Add a few tablespoons of pasta water to help create a sauce (the starch in the pasta water thickens the sauce).  

Serve with a lot of freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano.


If you are cooking this dish for your weaning baby as well, take a small amount of orzo(approx. 20g or ladle full), 1 large tablespoon of sauce from the pan, some freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano and add ½ espresso cup of the pasta water so that the sauce becomes really quite wet.  Put the mix into a mini chopper and blitz to create a puree. You are looking for a very sloppy consistency so add more pasta water if it is too thick.

I found that this made enough for two adult portions and a toddler portion plus two left over adult portions. It tasted quite nice the next day eaten cold but was better fresh I think. Still…a very nice quick and easy recipe, a very wholesome meal and well worth the syns, I felt positively virtuous after eating it!

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