Orzo Risotto

I love orzo pasta. I don’t know why– there’s just something about the rice shaped pasta that appeals to me. Oh wait… perhaps it’s because it’s just like rice only in pasta form. I do love my rice.

I also love orzo because it doesn’t take much to cook a lot of food. I can make a pasta salad to feed 20 using only 1/3 of the bag which is why I tend to have opened bags of orzo lying around in my pantry, always buying and opening another bag forgetting that the 1/2 cup remaining in an older bag is probably more than enough to meet my dinner needs.

Since the orzo looks like rice anyway, I thought I’d try using up the leftover bits of orzo in my pantry to make a risotto style dish. In the true spirit of using up things in my pantry and fridge, I also threw in some shrimp that had long been forgotten in the back of my freezer and the turmeric that I bought long ago for a recipe but have never used it since. I really liked how the colors came together in this dish: bright yellow from the turmeric, coral pink from the shrimp, sharp flecks of green from the broccolini and parsley– very spring like if you ask me! Cooking the pasta like a risotto meant that the starches released from the pasta made its own creamy like sauce but the pasta remained al dente. Definitely worth a try the next time you want to switch things up a bit.

  • olive oil
  • 1 cup dried orzo pasta
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1.5 lbs medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 small bunch broccolini, chopped into florets and 1/2 inch long pieces
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • feta cheese (optional)

Gently heat the chicken stock in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. In a large skillet, heat about 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the shallot and garlic for 3-5 minutes or until the shallot is softened. Add the butter. When the butter is melted, sprinkle in the orzo pasta. Let this cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until the pasta is lightly toasted and coated in the butter and olive oil. Stir in the white wine and continue to cook until the wine is absorbed.

Once the wine is absorbed, start adding in the chicken stock. Do this one ladle at a time, stirring the pasta and not adding another ladle full until after all the stock you added previously is absorbed. The stock will absorb more quickly at first but as it cooks more and gets closer to being done, the absorption rate will slow down. When you’ve added about 3 cups worth, taste the pasta to see how close it is to being done. If the pasta seems close to being al dente, add the bell pepper and the shrimp with the next ladle full of chicken stock. Once the stock has absorbed and the shrimp is pink and opaque, try the pasta again– it should hopefully be just right. Add in the broccolini florets with about 1/2 a ladle more of the stock and cover the skillet to help the florets steam through. Mix in the curry and turmeric and add salt and pepper to taste. Plate the orzo and sprinkle with chopped parsley and feta if desired.

CSA Count: 2

Shallots, garlic

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