Catherine says: "When I'm not cooking for the children, I'll add more chilli or even a dash of paprika to this mix just to spice it up a bit. The dressing keeps for 4 to 5 days in the fridge, but don't forget to shake it well before drizzling over the warm salad."

Ingredients

For The Dressing

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ red chilli, finely sliced
  • 100ml rapeseed oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon caster sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For The Salad

  • 100g diced pancetta
  • 1 medium leek, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium beetroots, diced and roasted
  • 50g baby spinach or rocket leaves
  • 350g cooked orzo pasta
  • ½ lemon, zest only
  • 2 tablespoons mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, etc.)

Method

Catherine says: "When I'm not cooking for the children, I'll add more chilli or even a dash of paprika to this mix just to spice it up a bit. The dressing keeps for 4 to 5 days in the fridge, but don't forget to shake it well before drizzling over the warm salad."

  1. To prepare the dressing, heat a frying pan with a little oil over a medium heat and add the onion, sauté for 4 minutes before adding the chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes until softened but not brown.
  2. Place the onion and chilli into a small bowl, pour in the oil and using a hand blender, puree until just textured (you should still have bits of chilli visible).
  3. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and sugar, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.
  4. For the salad, heat a large frying pan with a little oil over a medium heat, add the pancetta and fry until crispy.
  5. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate. Clean the pan out with kitchen paper and add a little more oil and then add the leeks, reduce the heat and sauté until softened and a little caramelised.
  6. Add the roasted beetroot and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Stir the spinach into the beetroot leek mix and add the cooked orzo. Add the lemon zest and return the crispy pancetta to the pan. Ensure that the mix is hot before serving.
  8. Spoon out into a serving bowl and drizzle with the salad dressing. Sprinkle the seeds over the top and serve immediately.

A Grate Gadget

A handy little grater that I use all the time is the Alessi Parmenide grater. It has a little container attached to catch the food and is also slightly concave, so grates very quickly. It works comfortably and is easy to wash, so couldn’t be better!