when it comes to cooking, all of us have that dish that we shy away from making because of its reputation as difficult. but just like most of the catholic school girls i know, that reputation is usually more myth than fact. risotto is definitely one of those dishes that, until you actually attempt it, seems surrounded by the need to know fancy techniques and a huge failure rate. the truth is… if you can stand in one place for 20 minutes and you know how to stir, voila! you too can make delicious risotto. i posted a shrimp risotto recipe last year that is worth trying if you haven’t yet, but tonight i’m stealing the technique of risotto to make some creamy, dreamy orzo. it’s a wonderful side dish but also doubles as a more refined mac & cheese for the little ones. give it a try!
orzo in the style of risotto (makes 2 servings)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 of a small onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup of dry orzo
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, heated
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon italian parsley, chopped fine
in a non-stick skillet or saucepan saute the onion, garlic, salt and pepper in the olive oil until soft, just a couple of minutes. add the dry orzo and saute until all the pasta is coated in the oil. start adding the hot stock, one 1/2 cup at a time. let all the stock absorb into the orzo before adding the next addition of stock. you will do this about 4 times until all the stock is gone and your orzo is al dente but creamy, around 20 minutes. off the heat, stir in the parmesan and parsley. serve immediately.
this is such a comforting dish and can be paired with just about any protein. my son loves it and now, techno-orange mac & cheese is not something i have to ween him off in the future. it also makes sitting down all together for dinner a lot easier.