I have a soft spot for orzo. The perfection combination of pasta and rice is the centerpiece of one of my favorite summer time salads.
According to Wise Geek, "Orzo is the Italian word for “barley.” In Italy, the word can of course refer to the grain itself, but might also describe a beverage made from roasted barley or a wheat-based pasta that looks like barley. The term is almost always used for pasta in other parts of the world, though orzo pasta is also called risoni in some places. Its small shape makes it a popular addition to soups and stews, and it can also be prepared as a pilaf in much the same way that rice could be."
Since it is still winter around here, I tried orzo in a new creamier version from Damn Delicious.
It is rich, warm and basic - in a good way. This is a perfect side dish, although my family ate it as our main course and the kids barely noticed the chopped spinach I threw in.
Parmesan and Spinach Orzo
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in Parmesan until melted, about 1 minute. Add orzo and gently toss to combine; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve immediately
Adapted from Damn Delicious.
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