Orzo is one of my favorite types of pasta but I don’t buy it nearly often enough. Combine my recent craving for orzo with Dave being gone, and you get this delicious, healthy meal. I treated it as the main course, although it would make a great side dish as well. One of the great things about Dave travelling for work is that it means that I get to cook things that he doesn’t like, and this meal celebrates his being in Minnesota by being full of Dave-unfriendly items.
- 1 Green bell pepper, roasted
- 1 package of shiitake mushrooms
- 1 green onion
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/4 cup romano cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons feta cheese, sliced into small pieces
- 1/4 cup red onion
- 1/2 package of orzo
- 1/2 package of spinach
- Chicken stock
Start by chopping everything. Crush the garlic, dice the bell pepper, mushrooms, red and green onion. Start the garlic in a cold pan with olive oil. When it gets up to temperature, add the mushrooms and sautee for about three minutes. Add the bell pepper and red onion and sautee for another 3-5 minutes, until everything is fully cooked. Add the green onion at the end.
Meanwhile, start the orzo. Add about a cup of chicken stock and a cup of water to a pan and bring to a boil. If you have some extra white wine, add a splash of that and a dash of olive oil. Add half a package of orzo to the liquid. Stir continuously as it cooks or it will stick to the bottom. As the liquid is absorbed, continue adding half stock and half water until the liquid is completely absorbed and the orzo is fully cooked. This is much like the technique for making risotto. The most important thing is to not let it get too dry–turn off the heat while it’s still got some liquid left and it will continue to evaporate and dry out.
Once your orzo is done, turn off the heat and stir in the two kinds of cheese. Very roughly chop the spinach (run a knife through it just once) and stir into the vegetables after you’ve turned off the heat. The residual heat will wilt it. Stir the orzo into the vegetables, add lots of salt, pepper, and a few splashes of olive oil, and you’re done! Enjoy.
*If you have fresh herbs, cilantro or basil would be good, plus artichokes. You could also make this recipe with risotto (rice) or couscous.