I've been wanting to experiment with orzo for a while.
There's just something fun about trying out different pasta shapes, so I tend to buy them whenever I see something interesting. And while it's by no means the rarest, orzo is one of the most unusual I've encountered. With small 'grains' that look a bit like long-grained rice, it feels like it needs a different treatment to regular pasta.
Perhaps the most obvious thing to do with pasta that looks like rice, is to make a dish that looks like risotto. I decided to go with peas and spinach, two of my favourite risotto ingredients.
The resulting dish was bright and very tasty. The orzo has a rather different texture to arborio rice; it comes out creamy but retains a bit of bite. Being pasta, it's also less likely to stick to the pan, which takes some of the stress out of cooking (I was able to wash up while dinner cooked itself, which certainly isn't true of risotto).
The December theme for Pasta Please, hosted by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary, is speedy pasta dishes that can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. This is definitely a really quick meal, and one that will go on my mental list of quick weeknight dinners.
Orzo Risotto with Spinach & Peas
1 small red onion
1 clove garlic
1tbsp olive oil
200g (1 cup) orzo pasta
60ml (¼ cup) white wine
500ml (2 cups) vegetable stock
100g (4 cups) spinach
130g (1 cup) frozen peas
2tsp dried garlic flakes
- Finely chop the onion, leek, and garlic.
- Heat the oil in a deep saucepan and fry the onion, leek, and garlic until soft.
- Toss the orzo into the pan.
- Add the wine, and simmer until evaporated.
- Add the stock, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the spinach and peas, and continue to stir gently until the vegetables are cooked (another 2-3 minutes).
- Sprinkle with garlic flakes before serving.