Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Giada does it again!

Why has it taken me 28 years to try orzo??? I don't ever remember having it as a kid and know I've never tried it as an adult...why IS this?? Maybe because I'm not a huge fan of rice and thought that because this PASTA looked like rice, it tasted like it too? I don't know...but anyhow, I was perusing though one of Giada's cookbooks a couple of weeks ago and came upon a delicious-sounding (there wasn't a pic in the book of the dish) meal that I figured would be quick and easy for a weeknight dinner, and would also go over well with Kyle. The recipe is designed to be a main course but I knew another main course without meat wouldn't fly in my house so I halved the recipe and coupled it with grilled chicken rubbed with herbes de provence, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Good move. :) The two complement each other perfectly and Kyle didn't have enough good things to say about the meal. This one will make frequent reappearances on our weekly menu.

Creamy Orzo served with Herb-Rubbed Grilled Chicken

  • 1 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced*
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, juices drained
  • 1 1/4 cups whipping cream*
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed*
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • reserved pasta water
  • 2 tsp herbes de provence
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2"

Bring a heavy large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 10-11 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Season pounded chicken on both sides with herbes de provence (1 tsp per breast), salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat and pre-heat the grill to medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Put chicken on grill, turning after 4-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cream and peas*. Add the orzo and toss to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the Parmesan to the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Stir the pasta mixture until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy consistency. Season the orzo generously with salt and pepper, and serve.

* Modifications:
  1. Even when halving the recipe, use a 1-2 cloves minced garlic.
  2. I used 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets rather than peas (personal preference). After the tomatoes have cooked for 6 minutes, add the broccoli. Cook for 2 minutes, turn the heat to medium-low and then add the cream.
  3. You might need a little extra cream if the orzo soaks up too much liquid after you add it to the pan.
  4. I halved this recipe and cooked two chicken breasts. The whole orzo recipe will serve 6-8.

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Serves: 6-8

2 comments:

Renea said...

That orzo looks really good. I've been meaning to try orzo!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I love orzo! It is such a great litttle cooking staple. I am sure you are hooked on it now! :)