Pasta/ Side Dishes

Orzo with Peas & Parmesan

I was trying to find another recipe using orzo and saw this recipe in Cooks Illustrated magazine. This orzo is a lot heartier than the Lemon Orzo which is OK when you want a side that’s substantial. It’s got a great nutty flavor due to the fact that the orzo is toasted. Make sure you toast the orzo for the full 5-6 minutes over medium high heat. It really makes a difference in the flavor, and as I always say, don’t burn the garlic. If you do, stop and start the recipe all over. IMO, burnt garlic ruins any recipe.  Make sure to try and use a non-stick skillet; its makes cleaning the melted cheese much easier. The first time I made this, I only slightly toasted the orzo and the flavor was much better this time. I always use fresh grated cheese if possible.

Orzo with Peas & Parmesan

Orzo with Peas & Parmesan

2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves (2 tsp). minced
2 c. orzo
3/4 c. dry vermouth or dry white wine
3-1/2 c. canned low-sodium chicken broth
10 oz. (1-3/4 c.) frozen peas
2 oz. (1 c.) grated Parmesan cheese
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
ground black pepper

Heat butter in preferably a non-stick 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat; when foaming subsides, add onion and 3/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add orzo and cook, stirring frequently with heatproof rubber spatula, until most of the orzo is lightly browned and golden, 5-6 minutes. Off heat, add vermouth or wine and chicken broth. Return skillet to medium high and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all liquid has been absorbed and orzo is tender, 10-15 minutes. With rubber spatula, stir in peas, Parmesan, nutmeg & pepper to taste. Let stand off heat until peas are heated through, about 2 minutes; adjust seasoning with salt & serve.

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