There’s a lot of new-recipe trying going on at our place these days. With everything from desserts to soups to entrees, my pre-grocery-shopping routine usually involves a good hour of cookbook and computer diving to the find a slew of new dishes we can take for a test drive. Some are great, some are so-so, and some are glad-we-tried-it-so-we-know-never-to-order-it-for-realsies. But my favorite kind of new recipe discoveries thus far are the ones we can imagine making for years and years to come. The ones that will get put into the old recipe arsenal, right alongside spaghetti, tacos and any of the other easy-to-make and easy-to-love meals that fit into a busy schedule without too much hullabaloo.
This creamy orzo is exactly that kind of meal. It’s warm and comfort-foodie, filled with sautéed veggies and wonderfully creamy in a this-took-a-while-to-make kind of way. But here’s the kicker: It can be thrown together in about 20 minutes. I like to think of it as the lazy man’s (or woman’s) risotto. No hour-long kitchen session involving frequent stirring or careful liquid absorption is required. Just a little of this and a little of that, 20 minutes of effort, and you’re good to go.
Adapted slightly from Giada De Laurentiis (Everyday Pasta)
• 1 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large shallot, finely chopped
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, juices drained
• 1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
• 1 to 1 ½ cups frozen corn (the original calls for 1 cup frozen peas), thawed
• ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large heavy saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo, and cook (stirring often) until tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and cook until they are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cream and corn (or peas). Add the orzo, and toss to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the Parmesan to the mixture, and toss to coat. Stir the pasta mixture until the sauce coats the pasta (add enough of the reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy consistency). Season the orzo with salt and pepper, and serve.
Have you made any great, easy meal discoveries lately? How about a new dish that you’re sure will survive the family-menu long haul? How much time do you generally like to spend on a meal? 20 minutes? An hour? All day? Let’s hear it!