Recipe Review: Orzotto With Pancetta & Peas -Nigella Lawson

Posted on Oct 28 2012 - 1:47pm by Anita-Clare Field

I am reviewing Orzotto with Pancetta and Peas as seen on episode five of Nigelissima. I’ve not been overly impressed with our latest visit to Nigella Lawson’s kitchen, especially when I compare it to her earlier series’. Nigella has changed, the twinkle in her eye has diminished and the entire programme seems to be geared up towards an American audience with gratuitous shots of Big Ben and Westminster Bridge at every opportunity. I’ve always been a devotee of La Lawson and have most of her cookbooks, counting her early work among my favourite cook books, for their balance, commentary and passion for all things food.

Sadly, I haven’t been inspired to cook many of the ‘Italian’ recipes, but last week she introduced us to Orzotto made with peas and pancetta and rice shaped pasta and told us that according to her Italian friends, this was THE latest in culinary fashion in Italy. For the first time in 5 episodes her eyes lit up as she described a) how easy it is to cook and b) how lovely it tastes. Old Nigella was back and my interested was piqued.

I decided to cook it for supper last night and the outcome was every bit as delicious as it looked on the television and yes, it takes no time at all to cook. The only ingredient I worried about being able to get was the Orzo ( rice shaped pasta) as earlier in the week I had seen Nigella tweeting links to various mail order companies for eager followers. I found mine in the supermarket under the *finest range and managed to pick up one of the last two packets luckily.

So into the kitchen and the ingredients couldn’t be simpler, although again for the US market the measurements are in cups and not grams and oz. I never really understand how to convert them into British weights and measures so I used a mug working on the premiss that so long as I stuck to the one pasta = double the water method I couldn’t go far wrong. So here goes.

Nigelissma – Orzotto with pancetta and peas.


  • 1 large pack of pancetta ( I used smoked)
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 1 1/4 cups of Orzo
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of wine ( I swapped water for wine here)
  • 200g of fresh Parmesan


Add the pancetta to the heated garlic oil and cook until golden brown.


Next add the peas and continue to stir-fry


Add the orzo,water and  wine then simmer on a low heat stirring to avoid it sticking.


Once the orzo is cooked, stir in the parmesan and cook for a further five minutes until creamy.


Total cooking time – 20 minutes


I have to say the Orzotto with Pancetta and Peas was as deliciously tasty as it looked on the television and was a huge hit chez Lover of Creating Flavours. I think I may have to return to the supermarket to buy some more orzo pronto as I now have big plans for the squid ink in the fridge. If you are looking for something quick, no fuss or frills and easy as the peas(y) in the dish? Then Orzotto with Pancetta & Peas is the perfect comfort food for you and ideal for a weekday supper. I’ve actually made enough to have some for lunch during the week too.

Oh one last thing… Just so you feel like you are cooking alle Nigelissima here is a little something to accompany you in the kitchen – buona salute e buon appetito!

17 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Steve Newman October 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    You missed the peas out of the recipe!

    • Anita-Clare Field October 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much Steve ! That will teach me to write at 05:02am whilst taking morphine for my very badly broken arm. You are a gentleman and a scholar. The peas are now restored :)

  2. Tarn October 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    the ‘green’ supermarket sell orzo at a fraction of the price of ‘finest’ 😉

    • Anita-Clare Field October 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      Oooh thanks for the ‘heads up’ there Tarn, brilliant !

  3. debbie November 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    just found this in asda £1 for a 500g bag

    • Anita-Clare Field November 6, 2012 at 4:01 am - Reply

      Fantastic. I’m trying it with squid ink and shellfish this week :)

  4. Emma Hollis November 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Hi love the look of this recipe, how many people does it serve?

    • Anita-Clare Field November 6, 2012 at 4:02 am - Reply

      It will serve 4 easily. It’s so easy to cook and it’s just what we need in this chilly weather!

  5. Stef December 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Even easier and tastier than it looks! Made enough for 3 when I halved the recipe, also didn’t have garlic oil so crushed garlic in with the pancetta. Amazing, will be a stable in my house from now on!

  6. David Ranger February 9, 2013 at 2:28 am - Reply

    Fantastic – thanks for posting this. Since I saw it on Nigelissima I’ve been looking everywhere for this recipe. We’ve just had the show in Australia and Orzo (or Risoni as it’s called here) is readily available in supermarkets.

    • Anita-Clare Field February 9, 2013 at 5:35 pm - Reply

      How amazing, I am so happy you found it. I am actually cooking it for supper tonight :)

      • Anne February 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm - Reply

        So thrilled to read your comments.saw the show in Oz and about to try it tonight! Anne

  7. k.t. July 20, 2013 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Hi, thanks very much for this. May I ask how you found the texture of the orzo in this dish? Was it al dente at all? Thanks!

    • Anita-Clare Field July 20, 2013 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Hi, Yes, I prefer al dente to overcooked !

      • k.t. July 21, 2013 at 3:48 am - Reply

        Thanks! Somehow the orzo seems to look mushy in the pictures, but I’m glad it isn’t :)

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