Saturday, February 18, 2012

Falling in Love at Orzo

Orzo and veggies...

I have never had orzo until I met DFJ a little over a year ago. On our first date, he asked me to come over to his house for dinner. It was pork tenderloin stuffed with spinach, pesto, and feta, with some tomato sauce over a bed of orzo. That’s when I learned that he was classy and not picky with food. This is a guy whose taste buds are not limited to grilled meat and hamburgers. I like…

Orzo is fun! I love how I can almost pretend that it’s rice even though it’s not. Because orzo is teeny tiny, it is versatile and can be put in anything… anything. Cold or warm salads, soup, casseroles, underneath stuffed pork tenderloins, ragu, and so on.

Last week, I tossed it with some stir-fried vegetables. It was a great accompaniment to DFJ’s homemade teriyaki-lime steak. Got no fancy words to describe this dish... it's just very simple and delicious.

This dish can be made with any vegetables (wilted spinach, kale, chard, tomatoes, squash, carrots, you name it) and can be tossed with feta cheese, parmesan, pecorino romano, or whatever suits your fancy. Here's what I did... 

Orzo, Vegetables, and Blue Cheese (Makes 4 servings)

1 cup uncooked orzo

1 tsp olive oil
1 head of broccoli, chopped
half of a medium sized onion, diced
about 5 mushrooms, chopped (you can use any kind, I used cremini)
half of a large bell pepper
freshly ground pepper
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika

blue cheese

To make the orzo:

Fill a medium sized sauce pan with water up to 2/3 full. Add 2 pinches of salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. As soon as the water starts boiling, add the orzo. Leave the pan uncovered. Stir occasionally and wait for it to boil again. Cooking time is between 9-11 minutes, depending on how you like your pasta. If you like it al dente, use less cooking time and if you like it more tender, cook longer.


Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions until slightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes. Season with ¼ tsp salt and pepper (add pepper to your preference). Add the broccoli and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes. Season with another ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper (to your preference), then add ½ teaspoon of cumin and ½ teaspoon of paprika.

Serve the stir-fried vegetables over a bed of orzo and sprinkle with blue cheese. Toss everything together and serve warm.  


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