Moreton Bay bug, cuttlefish and orzo saffron broth

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 people

  • 250 ml (1 cup) tomato sugo (see note)
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • Pinch of smoked paprika
  • 200 gm orzo (see note)
  • 500 gm (about 8 bugs) Moreton Bay bug meat, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 1 bulb of baby fennel, thinly sliced
  • 160 gm (1 cup) podded peas (about 400gm unpodded), blanched
  • ¼ cup each of finely chopped basil, chives and flat-leaf parsley
  • 20 gm butter
  • To taste: lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 gm (about 12) cuttlefish, cleaned, inside flesh scored
  • To serve: lemon cheeks
  •  
  • Broth
  • 1.5 litres fish stock
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, coarsely chopped
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped coriander stalks and roots
  • 1 clove of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cm piece of ginger, thinly sliced
01   For broth, combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, then strain into a bowl, discarding solids.
02   In a heavy-based saucepan, combine 1 litre of broth, tomato sugo, saffron and smoked paprika and bring to the boil over medium heat. Add orzo, return to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente. Add bug meat, fennel, peas and herbs, cook for 2 minutes and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If too thick, dilute with remaining broth. Add butter and lemon juice to taste.
03   Heat olive oil in a frying pan over high heat and cook cuttlefish for 1-2 minutes or until cooked through and golden, then cut into 1cm slices.
04   To serve, ladle broth into bowls, arrange cuttlefish on top and serve immediately with lemon cheeks passed separately.
Note Tomato sugo, also called passata, is puréed tomato sauce, available from supermarkets. Orzo, also known as risoni, is a rice-shaped pasta, available from select delicatessens and supermarkets.
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