Toasted Garlic and Spinach Orzo
If you're looking for an orzo recipe that's not only tasty but versatile and easy to prepare, look no further.
Orzo develops a great deal of flavor when you pan-toast the dry pasta first in a combination of butter and olive oil then cook it risotto-style in chicken broth instead of water.
Add in a hearty dose of sautéed garlic, thin shreds of fresh spinach and a bit of grated Parmesan cheese and you end up with a versatile, tasty side dish to serve with simply prepared main courses like:
- Oven-Roasted Chicken Thighs
- Italian Steak with Garlic Butter and Peppers
- Oven-Fried Parmesan Pork Chops
- 3/4 lb orzo
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2-1/2 to 3-3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 ounces fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan (preferably nonstick) over medium heat.
- Add the dry orzo, stir to coat thoroughly with the butter and oil and cook, stirring frequently, until a good portion of the orzo is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in 2-1/2 cups of the chicken broth and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cover, reduce the heat slightly and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Although it will most likely still be too firm, check the orzo for doneness. Add another 1/4 cup of broth, cover and cook until it's absorbed, 2 minutes.
- Repeat the process, adding broth in 1/4 cup increments until the orzo is tender. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Return the pan to the stove over medium heat and add the remaining butter and olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté until soft and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Start adding spinach, a handful at a time and continue cooking until wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Return the orzo to the pan, combine with the spinach and heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese, adjust the seasoning to taste and transfer to a serving dish.