• Chicken and orzo rat-a-tat bake (Maja Smend)Source: Maja Smend

A pasta bake is a great carb re-fuel. Orzo (also known as risoni) is used as it's a quick-cooking pasta that is great for absorbing flavours. This makes for a healthy, quick chicken dinner.






Skill level

Average: 3 (45 votes)


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 zucchini, trimmed and diced (250 g)
  • 1 eggplant, trimmed and diced (250 g)
  • 4 sprigs freshoregano
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 250 g orzo (risoni)
  • 1 x 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 250 ml chicken stock
  • 2 x 200 g chicken breasts, cut into 1 cm slices
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 small bunch of chives, finely chopped

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan-forced 180°C/gas mark 6).

Melt half of the oil in a heavy-based flameproof casserole dish over a medium to high heat. Add the onion and cook for 1 minute, then throw in the zuccchini, eggplant, oregano, thyme and 2 chopped garlic cloves. Fry, stirring regularly for 5 minutes, until the vegetables are starting to soften.

Add the tomato puree and orzo and mix to combine. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and chicken stock and bring the mixture quickly to the boil, stirring regularly. Put the lid on and slide the dish into the oven.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the sliced chicken and the remaining chopped garlic clove. Stir-fry the chicken so that it is virtually cooked through – it is more important at this stage to colour the meat than to cook it through.

Sprinkle in the paprika along with a pinch of salt and pepper and toss the whole lot together.

Remove the pasta from the oven and carefully take off the lid, stir in the chicken, slide the lid back on and bake the whole lot together for 10 more minutes.

After 10 minutes, take the dish from the oven and stir through the parsley and chives. Serve straight from the dish to the masses.

Recipe from Joe's 30-Minute Meals by Joe Wicks (Bluebird, $39.99). More from Joe Wicks.

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