Monday, February 1, 2010

parmesan orzo

apparently i'm a big fish over at our local smart and final.
i am there a LOT.
the produce guy says to me the other day "hey! i know you!!"
being there 3 days in a row you start to feel like friends with everyone that works there.

i was looking for orzo pasta there the other day.
no luck.
i flagged down a really nice guy in a smart and final shirt that ALSO recognized me.
slightly embarrassing.
i asked if i was looking in the wrong place for orzo.
he ran in back to ask the stock manager if they carried it.
he came back to me a few minutes later and said it wasn't an item they had.
bummer.

fast forward 3 weeks.
once again i find myself shopping at smart and final.
i go down the pasta aisle.
I gaze up at the top shelf.
lo and behold!! what do i see?
little blue boxes staring back at me.
they started carrying orzo.
whoooo hooooo!
it apparently pays to stalk a store.
and spend obscene amounts of money there weekly.
it was just nice to know they listen to their customers!

i love this orzo salad so very much. i make it often for parties and dinners.

the following is a great little side dish that goes with pretty much everything.
this recipe is a great alternative to risotto...enjoy!

Parmesan Orzo
{print recipe}

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 - 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth or stock
2 cups orzo pasta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Optional additions:
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup steamed or cooked zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms or butternut squash
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved and sprinkled with a little salt

Preheat a medium saucepan with a lid over medium heat.
Add oil, onion and garlic and saute for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add 3 1/2 cups broth to the pan and bring to a boil.
Stir in orzo and return to a boil.
Cover pot and reduce heat to low and simmer.
Cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid is absorbed and pasta tender.
Remove lid and stir in cheese and any additional add ins.
Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Serve immediately.
If orzo becomes to starchy and thick add a bit more broth and stir.

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