Orzo is a small Italian pasta that looks very much like rice and is usually prepared similar to a risotto. This pasta dish is both simple and quick, fabulously creamy, and has a wonderful blend of flavors that will delight, not only the adults, but the kids too... This dish very adaptable. It can be eaten as a side dish, or add some cooked chicken, ham or shrimp for a main course. When available, I like to substitute sauteed fresh asparagus for the peas, and I often add 1/2 cup cremini mushrooms to saute along with the shallot and garlic. I love this dish because I can whip it together in about 30-40 minutes, and it's made with things that I usually have readily at hand. It makes a last minute supper feel like something special rather than an afterthought.
In a large heavy saucepan, bring chicken broth or salted water to boil over high heat. Slowly stir in the orzo and cook uncovered, stirring often, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Heat oil in a large heavy saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute about 2 minute. Add the garlic and saute another 1-2 minutes, or until mixture is tender and fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the cream and peas, and cook, stirring often, until cream just begins to bubble. Add the orzo, tossing to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cheese to the pasta mixture. Stir until the sauce coats the pasta thickly. If needed, add enough of the reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts, if desired. Serve immediately in warmed bowls along with additional cheese to pass.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Do not substitute milk for the cream, it's just not the same. Also, the amount of cream may sound like a lot, but this recipe makes a huge amount of pasta--maybe 12 side dish servings or 8+ main dish servings. The recipe can be easily halved, if desired.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (409g)|
|Recipe Makes: 8 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 127 (36%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 14.1g||19 %|
|Saturated Fat 6.9g||35 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 4.5g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 1.5g|
|Cholesterol 77.9mg||24 %|
|Sodium 791.9mg||27 %|
|Potassium 497.6mg||13 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 39.3g||12 %|
|Dietary Fiber 1.3g||5 %|
|Sugars, other 38g|
|Protein 16.5g||24 %|
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Calories per serving: 348
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