Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Parmesan Basil Orzo



As I've mentioned before I am a HUGE carb addict. Add some Parmesan, fresh basil and garlic and I'm a goner. This very easy side dish is perfect for those days (albeit far and few between) when you're just not in the mood for a spud. *gasp!* Yes, I said it. I've been tiring of my beloved spud lately and I've been on the lookout for a different kind of side dish to accompany the fish, chicken, pork or beef we eat at supper.

Enter orzo. For those of you not familiar with this little guy, orzo is a rice shaped pasta whose name means "barley" in Italian. Just because orzo resembles rice do not mistake it for rice if you're omitting gluten from your diet. It is made from durum semolina wheat which is an especially hard type of wheat. This 'hardness' makes orzo perfect for use in soups, baked casseroles, stuffed peppers etc since it doesn't get mushy and retains it's shape. Orzo is a very popular ingredient in Italian, Middle Eastern and Greek cooking.

My Parmesan Basil Orzo is super simple to make and it uses items that are fairly typical in an average kitchen. This is one of those dishes where I like to get all of my ingredients measured out and put in little dishes on the counter. That way throwing this dish together is a snap AND I get the added benefit of pretending that I'm on a cooking show. Did I just say that out loud?? Ok, I admit that my Type A personality loves to see all of the ingredients lined up ready to go. And, if I'm being honest, I so do love tossing in the ingredients with a jaunty snap of the wrist!! Who doesn't like to think of themselves as having their own cooking show? Anyone? Ok, it's just me but my dog thinks my on-air personality is stellar!

Back to the recipe ... honestly, this recipe is super simple and tastes sooooo good! The tanginess of the fresh Parmesan, the freshness of the basil and the undeniably yummy hit of garlic is awesomeness squared!! Plus you can pair it with any meat making this side dish so versatile.

Note to those of us who have kids who are not rice lovers: You may have a hard time convincing your kids that orzo is in fact a pasta, not a rice. My kids are still sceptical of my explaination but I guess I had it coming since I routinely pass off finely chopped spinach as 'seasoning' and pass off hidden sweet potato in cheesy mashed potatoes. I hope your family loves this dish as much as 80% of my family does (this stat does not include Karate Guy who is adamant that orzo is secretly a rice). :)

Parmesan Basil Orzo
From: The Baking Bookworm
Servings: 4 servings

3 tbsp butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
15oz water
2 tsp chicken bouillon powder (optional)
3/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil leaves to garnish

In a large pot, melt butter. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add orzo and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

In a small bowl, combine water and chicken bouillon powder, if using. Pour into pot, cover and bring to boil. Once mixture is boiling lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until orzo is tender. Add Parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup basil and salt & pepper. Serve immediately and garnish with extra fresh basil, if desired.



Somewhat Simple

4 comments:

April from Comox, BC said...

Mmmmmm...orzo is one of those items that I haven't tried and would like to. You've given me good incentive to look for it next time I go grocery shopping! And the good news...my kids love rice! LOL

Tina @flourtrader said...

This looks like a very creamy and delicious side dish. Orzo is a very versatile pasta to use.
Ha-I use the prep bowls too. I guess it makes me feel a little more organized in my tiny kitchen.

Shaz said...

Let's see ... a box of orzo in the pantry, a pot of basil on my doorstep ...

Guess what's for dinner? :-)

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

April -- I'm pretty new to orzo too but I've gotta say that I love it! I'm going to try making a pasta salad with it and see how I like it.

Tina -- So I'm not the only person who has a tv show happening when they cook in the kitchen! Good to know! ;) I adore those little prep bowls. My parents picked me up some cute multi-coloured ones that I adore using.

Shaz -- I hope you enjoy it! I love the garlic and Parm together. Heaven!! :)

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