When alliteration is the title of a blog post, you know it’s going to be a good one. I have no idea if that’s really true, but I DO know that it’s true for this one!
I’m a recent pea-convert and made peas with pesto and pasta few weeks ago. It was good and all, but I used pre-made pesto because my one attempt at pesto was so terrible that I was afraid to try again. And linguine noodles were definitely not the way to go. I was losing peas left and right.
I knew I wanted to re-attempt this one since it should be a no-brianer. Then I saw an episode of Barefoot Contessa where Ina cooking with chef from Rao’s and they made his famous peas and prosciutto side dish. I immediately got inspired to turn his side dish into a main course and simultaneously try my hand at pesto once again.
I don’t know what it is about orzo, but it just fascinates me. It’s pasta…but is it rice? Is it pasta-rice? Rice-pasta? “Rice-sta?” It doesn’t matter ultimately because it’s small, firm and goes well with most anything.
Make this for dinner as a really great vegetarian meal or use as a side dish! Either way, this orzo pilaf really hits the mark. I was looking for a recipe that used chicken broth, since I had so much leftover from dinner a few nights prior. I found this recipe that used that and my favorite kind of mushrooms: shiitakes! This was a surprisingly filling and super easy weeknight dinner!
Little mushrooms swimming in broth
Liquid is cooking out
- 1 (3.2-ounce) package shiitake mushrooms
- Cooking spray
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 2 teaspoons instant minced onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
- 2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage (I used poultry seasoning instead)
Clean mushrooms and then discard stems. Slice caps into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Melt butter in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in orzo and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 13 to 15 minutes or until orzo is tender and liquid is almost absorbed, stirring frequently. Gently stir in pepper and seasonings. Serve immediately.
I am chomping at the bit for summer, which is now only a few weeks away! I cannot wait to retire my winter clothes and leather jacket that I’ve been forced to wear every morning for sundresses and sandals.
With the warmer weather, I find myself craving lighter food options like most people. Sometimes, it’s the most simple of dishes that I crave like this delicious yet dumbed-down pasta salad. Comprised of only a few ingredients: garden pasta, shaved carrots, plum tomatoes, red peppers and basil for some sweetness, it’s the perfect balance of satisfying and lightness. Drizzle in some olive oil, mix up and serve.
The colors really pop and will stand out on any picnic table, too. Not that you can tell how pretty this salad is from the picture because my camera is regular old point-and-shoot and despite all of the journalism classes I took in college, I’ve never learned how take a proper photograph. I’m still trying to learn, but I’m probably just a lost cause with this one–sorry!
What lighter foods do you crave in the summer time?