Welcome to our series of articles celebrating delicious Mediterranean food and truly Novel Wines. This recipe series is in partnership with foodie Kiki Burton, behind popular food blog Cardamom and Dill, alongside our friends at Raphael's Mediterranean Deli Products, who supply our delicious range of oils and olives.
This week's recipe is Kritharaki, the Greek version of orzo pasta which greedily drinks up the glorious flavours of wild oregano, dill and lemon. This beautiful little dish of goodness is inspired by the tavernas of small fishing village Loggos, who all serve up wonderfully authentic Greek food. At the end of the recipe, you'll find our top wine pairings personally selected by our buyer, Ben Franks.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil and gently fry the onions and garlic for around 10 minutes until they’re soft and translucent.
Add the tomato purée and stir around for a minute. Add the herbs (reserving a little dill for garnishing) and stir everything together for a another minute.
Add the tomatoes (roughly breaking them down with the back of a spoon) and the olives, turn down the heat right down and leave to gently simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover the kritharaki with boiling water. Simmer for seven minutes (the texture should be al dente). Drain and stir into the tomato sauce. Add the lemon juice and season to your taste.
Drizzle with olive oil, scatter over the feta cheese and garnish with the lemon zest, a scattering of fresh dill and chilli flakes (if using). Take straight to the table and serve with a basket of freshly baked rustic bread, a classic Greek salad and, naturally, several frosted glasses of retsina.
See Kiki's original recipe here.
For this dish, we've got lots of flavour bursting out of the recipe. Sweet, zingy tomatoes, umami from olives, salty feta cheese. You need a wine to have some character so it doesn't get lost. In true taverna style, something easy to drink like Moschofilero has to be a winner - and, if you're going to drink Moschofilero, it's worth going to the top man for the job, Leonadis Nassiakos. His entry level Semeli Feast White is not only great value but beautifully fresh, rounded and aromatic. It will go wonderfully with this recipe!
If you are making Kiki's recipe as a special treat and want to step things up drinks wise, then going for the superb Ktima Gerovassiliou 'Avaton' Epanomi Red would be a special choice. A blend of the indigenous Limnio, Mavrotragano and Mavroudi grapes it combines raisin, plums, coffee, cacao and spice notes in a polished, unique red that would be great with Kritharaki.