Toasted Orzo with Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Orzo develops a lot of great flavor when toasted dry with olive oil, onion and garlic, then cooked in a manner similar to rice. Once done, you can mix in just about anything you like. For this recipe we've added sliced sweet sausage, sun-dried tomatoes and black olives to make an easy one-dish meal.
- 3/4 lb fully-cooked sweet sausage (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup orzo
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 to 1 cup water
- 3 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 3/4 cup pitted, uncured black olives, halved
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Cut the sausage into 1/4-inch thick slices, place in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add the olive oil to the same pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 2 minutes, then add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute longer.
Add the orzo and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the orzo is lightly toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, chicken broth, cover and cook, stirring from time to time, until the liquid is absorbed. Times will vary depending on the brand of orzo you are using, so keep an eye on it.
Once the first batch of liquid is absorbed, taste the orzo, and if it is still too firm, add water (or more chicken broth) in 1/2-cup increments, cover and cook until tender. One additional cup of liquid should do it. Once the orzo is tender, add the sausage, sun-dried tomatoes and olives, combine well and heat through, about 3 minutes. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Stir in the parsley and serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings
We used Al Fresco brand, fully-cooked chicken sausage for this dish. If you prefer to use fresh sausage, we suggest removing it from the casing and crumbling it during the browning process because thinly slicing uncooked sausage would be rather difficult.
If using canned black olives, choose a low-sodium variety, rinse them in cold water and drain well on paper towels. We find this helps to eliminate the "tinny" flavor canned olives tend to have.