Confession time: I am on a serious asparagus bender. I cannot walk through a grocery store or peruse a restaurant menu and resist asparagus. As a result, I have gotten creative with how I use my green friend to prevent my other half from getting sick of it. Asparagus Risotto? Check. Asparagus with Champagne Vinaigrette and Feta? Check. Grilled asparagus with Balsamic Glaze and Locatelli Pecorino Romano? yep.
Here is another great way to incorporate asparagus into your culinary repertoire while it is still at its peak.
Note: Last night I made the mistake of serving grilled asparagus with Israeli Couscous and New York Strip Steaks. My other half just picked at the asparagus with his fork, ate 3 spears then let it be. He looked up at me, a pleading look in his eyes, and said, “You know….” I finished his sentence for him by replying, “You are really over asparagus?” He could not believe that I read his mind. Oh well, asparagus and I had a good run. Until next spring!
Orzo with Asparagus, Kalamata Olives & Feta
1.5 T olive oil + 2 T.
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 c. shallot, diced (~ 1 large)
1/2 c. red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
1 c orzo
4 c hot broth or water
2 T olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice
leaves from 5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/3 c. kalamata olives
1 c. Greek feta packed in brine, cut into 1/2″ pieces
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1.5 T olive oil and swirl in pan until glistening hot. Add garlic. Sauté 30 seconds. Add shallot and red pepper. Sauté 5 minutes. Stir in asparagus and sauté 5 minutes more until it becomes bright green. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in kalamata olives, a pinch of sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Return skillet to stovetop over medium heat. Add orzo to pan and stir 1-2 minutes. Pour hot broth or water (be careful) into the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 7-9 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 c. broth or salted water.
Toss vegetables with orzo. Stir in 2 T olive oil, lemon juice, feta & thyme. Season to taste with more sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If orzo mix seems too dry, try stirring in some pasta water/broth.
Optional: Serve with Lemon Garlic Chicken Kebab. I stirred my chicken into the orzo for an “all in one dinner bowl.” It was delicious!