I know, that was really reaching…But seriously, orzo isn’t boring.
Ahhh Orzo, is it a pasta? Or a rice?
It’s a pasta, but I treat it like it’s rice. Food identity crisis. I love orzo because for some reason it feels healthier to me than a giant bowl of long noodles or a buttery and creamy dish like risotto (God I love risotto). Especially if you toss every vegetable known to mankind in it.
Orzo IS pretty bland so what you put into it really counts. Go simple or go boldly where no orzo has ever gone before!
Let’s discuss how I made my orzo meal. I wanted it as an entree, a stick to your ribs dinner and boy it did not disappoint. I ate ALMOST the whole dang pot with no shame. There should never be food shaming. 🙂
From the Beginning
What I did…
First and foremost I did what I always do, stare at the plethora of things I always tend to have on hand. I loaded up my counter top with goodies from the fridge and put them to good use in my orzo. To make it more of a meal, I added ground Italian chicken sausage as well and OMG I will definitely make this again.
I prepared my orzo according to the directions on the label. While my orzo was boiling away to just shy of al dente, I browned up my Italian chicken sausage until cooked through on medium high heat in a large cast iron skillet.
Then I transferred my perfectly browned and delicious crumbly sausage to a paper towel lined plate and returned the pan to the stove. At this time, the orzo was cooked and I drained the water and let the orzo hang out in the colander.
I heated some olive oil to sauté ALL the veggies I was going to use.
Use the same pan so you get the yummy pieces and bits from the chicken sausage, it’s surprisingly not greasy. Probably because I cooked the chicken to oblivion and the grease evaporated…brown food/burned (LOL) food tastes good.
When the vegetables were to my desired tenderness I added back the chicken sausage and tossed them to mix and heat through.
As my sausage and veggie mixture was heating back up, I returned the orzo pot to medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil and some minced garlic. Let sauté until fragrant and added the orzo back to the pot to get warm and garlicky, mmm. This is also why you want your pasta to be al dente, you are reheating it so it will continue to cook a tad. I like pasta that bites back a little, I don’t want mushy pasta.
Once the orzo was coated with the olive oil and garlic amazingness, I poured the orzo into the cast iron skillet with the veggie and sausage mixture, topped with fresh basil and parmesan, took a picture (or 100), and then hoovered it!
My Orzo Dish Veggies Were
Kale, Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes, Onion, Bell Pepper, and Asparagus
Ideas for you
Italian Sausage, Ground Beef, Tofu, Chicken
Meatballs and Mozzarella with Fresh Basil, and Tomato
Olive Oil, Lemon Juice and Zest, Fresh Herbs, and Feta
Arugula, Olive Oil, and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (one of my Favorites)
Eggplant, Squash, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Brussel Sprouts, Whatever Vegetable you like
Broccoli, Golden Raisins, Red Onion, with your Fav Dressing
Theme it, I always love the Mexican route…do some chorizo with corn, cilantro, chilies. The orzo can soak up some of that chorizo fat that renders off…YES, yo quiero ahora con aguacate!
This recipe was so simple, boil stuff, brown stuff, sauté stuff, mix stuff, eat stuff. My kind of recipe.
Orzo is versatile as an entree, a side dish, a salad, or your lunch.
Mix it with whatever you feel like and make it your own masterpiece.