A great all-purpose side dish to accompany roast chicken, salmon or lamb chops, this orzo with slow-roasted tomatoes, lemon, and plenty of fresh parsley tastes as good at room temperature (for a picnic) as it does hot off the stove. Orzo is a small, flat pasta; in this recipe I cook it in a skillet, in the way I might cook rice for risotto, letting the pasta absorb the liquid slowly to give it a creamy texture at the end. I buy beautiful tri-color orzo at my local supermarket; it gets its color, and flavor, from spinach and tomato, and adds visual interest to this dish. Use regular or whole wheat orzo if that's what you have. I found the last of last summer's slow-roasted tomatoes in my freezer, and added them to the pan along with their oily juices. Good-quality sun-dried tomatoes will work well, too (be sure to add some of the oil from the jar). To turn this side dish into the main attraction, toss in some feta cheese, chickpeas, shredded cooked chicken, or steamed shrimp.
Orzo with slow-roasted tomatoes, lemon and parsley
From the pantry, you'll need: orzo, butter, olive oil, onion, garlic, vegetable broth, slow-roasted (or oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes), parsley, lemon, kosher salt, fresh black pepper.
Serves 6-8 as a side dish.
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 slow-roasted (or oil-packed sun-dried) tomato halves, chopped
2 cups orzo
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
Zest of 1/2 lemon
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the butter and oil over low-medium heat until the butter begins to bubble.
Add the onion, and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Stir in the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.
Then, add to the pan the tomatoes, orzo, broth and parsley. Season with the salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low. Gently stir the mixture, and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to ensure the pasta doesn't stick to the pan, for 12-15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. The orzo will be creamy.
Stir in the lemon zest, and cook for 1 minute. Taste, and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and more lemon zest, if needed.
Serve hot or at room temperature. Or, cool completely, pack into an airtight container, and refrigerate.
More recipes with orzo:
Orzo and shrimp salad with asparagus, bell peppers and feta cheese, from The Perfect Pantry
Whole wheat orzo with cucumber, mint, feta, olives, and zahtar vinaigrette, from The Perfect Pantry
Salmon chipotle chowder with orzo and corn, from The Perfect Pantry
Whole wheat orzo salad with kale, chickpeas, lemon and feta, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Roasted vegetables and andouille orzo, from Table for Two
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