Cooking

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Assembling Ingredients for Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

This weekend, we were in the middle of the first real snowstorm in Chicago’s 2014-2015 winter season!  So far, we have received about 19″ of snow.  Yesterday and again this morning, my husband and I went outside to finish shoveling the driveway and sidewalks.  The snow is the heavy, “packing” kind,  perfect for kids wanting to make snowmen and forts, but really irritating for adults trying to clear footpaths!  Stella was jumping around like a kangaroo in the snow!  This was before it got too deep for her.  After a few more hours, we ended up clearing a path in the backyard so she could walk without having the snow reach up past her   fluffy tail!

Stella Bear Braving Chicago's Big Winter Snow       www.morewinelesswhines.com

Stella Bear Braving Chicago’s Big Winter Snow

When we got inside from shoveling, I wanted something quick, simple and a lot like buttered noodles.  I made this ridiculously simple dish that does not even need a recipe once you make it a few times.   I put 1/2 a box of orzo in a pot of salted, boiling water.  I drained the orzo and made my butter-olive oil blend fancy by flavoring it with lemon peel and sliced garlic cloves.  Then, I stirred in some lemon juice, Romano cheese and parsley to finish the dish.  Easy!

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter     www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

serves 2

1 c. orzo
2 T. unsalted butter
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 2″ lemon peel
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 c. parsley, minced
1/3 c. Romano cheese + extra for serving
sea salt & pepper to taste

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add Orzo. Cook according to package directions until ‘al dente.’ You are better off undercooking the orzo at this point. Drain into a colander and transfer to a medium glass or heat-safe bowl*. Return pot to medium heat. Melt butter in pan and add olive oil. Gently place the sliced garlic and lemon peel in the butter/oil and stir a little bit. BE CAREFUL! Let bubble until garlic just barely starts to turn golden, ~30-60 seconds.  (It will go from golden to burned quickly) Remove garlic and lemon peel from pan with slotted spoon. Let cool on a plate before discarding.

Pour flavored butter/olive oil over the orzo. Stir in lemon juice, parsley and Romano cheese. Season to taste with sea and freshly ground black pepper.  Enjoy!

 

*Note: You can keep the cooked orzo in the colander and just stir it into the saucepan once the butter/oil has been flavored and the garlic/lemon peel is removed. I do this to minimize dirty dishes. The problem is the orzo can stick to the hot sides of the pan if you do not stir vigorously and immediately. The choice is yours.

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

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Cooking

Orzo with Asparagus, Kalamata Olives & Feta

Orzo with Asparagus, Kalamata Olives and Feta   www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orzo with Asparagus, Kalamata Olives and Feta

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.

Enjoy!

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    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orzo with Asparagus, Kalamata Olives & Feta

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!

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