Cheesy Orzo

5:02 AM

I have a horrible confession. I have hardly tried any of Rachel Ray's recipes. Its not that I have anything against her (my husband finds her a bit on the annoying side though), and its not that I don't think her meals are appetizing looking, I really do! I just...I have no excuse! Tonight, however, I was very excited to try a side dish of hers that got rave reviews. Reviewers said its almost like an easy-to-make risotto, and since the orzo in the dish can be substituted for rice, I can see how others would say that.

I really liked it. Thing One and Thing Two did as well, and I think my husband will like it since its not frou-frou tasting (he's a meat and potatoes kinda guy). I did end up making it a bit blander than my palette prefers, but I'm sure the tears streaming down my face over my empty box of kosher salt had a lot to do with it. I love kosher salt. It makes me feel like I'm a chef just because I use it. This orzo was extremely easy to make, and tastes like a lot more effort was put in than there really was. Another thing that really sells me on this dish is that it can be so versatile; throw in any herbs or seasonings you love, change up the broth used, add different cheeses or veggies or diced meats, I don't see how you could mess this dish up. Rachel's recipe says it serves 4, but as a side dish, I'm more inclined to say it serves 8, possibly more. Luckily halving this recipe doesn't require complicated math, so cut it in half if you have less to feed.

Cheesy Orzo
Serves 8 (as a side dish)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (14 oz.) cans chicken or vegetable broth or stock
2 cups orzo pasta (enriched rice may be substituted)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a 8 inch pot with a tight fitting cover over moderate heat. Add oil, onion and garlic and saute for 2 or 3 minutes. Add broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo and return broth to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid is absorbed and pasta tender. Remove lid and stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. You favorite fresh herbs may also be stirred into the orzo or rice to strengthen the flavor even more.

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