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Nigel Slater’s recipe for carrots with shallots and orzo

The recipe
Put a deep pot of water on to boil and salt it lightly. Trim the leaves from 400g of slim, young carrots, lower the carrots into the boiling water and boil for 4 minutes until just al dente. Drain and set aside.

Slicing the carrots in half encourages them to brown lightly and sweeten when you cook them with the shallots
Peel and finely chop 2 medium-sized shallots (or trim and chop 4 large spring onions). In a large, shallow pan, warm 60g butter and 2 tbsp of olive oil. When they have melted together, add the shallots or spring onions and let them cook over a moderate heat for about 10 minutes, till soft.

Bring a deep pan of water to the boil, salt generously, add 125g of orzo and cook for 8 minutes, or till tender.

Meanwhile, when the shallots are ready, halve the carrots lengthways, add to the pan, and leave over a moderate heat till hot. Finely chop 1 tbsp of dill fronds and 2 tbsp of parsley leaves then stir into the carrots and shallots.

Drain the orzo then toss with the vegetables and serve. Enough for 2.

The trick
Slicing the carrots in half encourages the cut sides to brown lightly and sweeten when you cook them with the shallots. If you have larger main-crop carrots, cut them into batons or thick slices.

The twist
You can add a little cheese to this, finely grated or in small pieces, allowing it to soften and melt with the warmth. Brie-style cheeses would be good, as would be feta or finely grated pecorino. You could change the orzo for small, star-shaped pasta or even cappelletti, but I would keep the shapes on the small side.

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