Creamy Veggie Orzo

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. (8 oz) uncooked orzo
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp minced roasted garlic
  • 1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1.5 cups (6 oz) chopped frozen broccoli, thawed
  • 1/3 cup (1.5 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.
  • Once boiling, add the orzo and cook until very al dente (about 7 min), stirring often.
  • Drain the orzo, but reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
  • Set the pasta aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet (or wok) over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the shallot and garlic, and saute until tender (about 2 minutes).
  • Add the tomatoes and cook until they are warm (about 2 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the soy milk and broccoli.
  • Add the orzo, and stir until well-combined. (10 strokes should do it.)
  • Remove the skillet/wok from the heat.
  • Add the Parmesan, and stir until everything is coated. At the same time, add enough reserved cooking water to maintain a creamy consistency and form a cheesy sauce. (I needed about 1/3 cup water.)
  • Dish individual servings, and season each with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 8 (5-oz) servings.

Nutritional information per serving (approximates): 148 calories, 2.6 g fat, 24.5 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 6 g protein.

The whole batch. (It makes a lot.)

The first serving.

The ratings:
Mental Cost (ingredient availability): Very low.
Financial Cost (ingredient cost): Nice and low.
Emotional Cost (cooking skill level): The low side of medium.
Time Cost (recipe preparation): Surprisingly, pretty darn low!
Life Cost (clean up time/effort): Once again on the low side of medium.
Worth It? (rate from 1-5): A 5! (Woot!)

Miscellaneous suggestions, insights, and/or thoughts:

  • I don’t often make pasta dishes, but a colleague at work brought this in for lunch last week, and it looked pretty darn amazing – so I wanted to try it.
  • The peer who graciously shared the recipe with me had tweaked the original version of this dish (replacing whipping cream with skim milk, and doubling the veggies). I further amended my peer’s recipe (reducing the amount of pasta, oil, and cheese used, and trading out frozen peas for frozen broccoli) – and I think my version tasted great. I doubt that anyone will miss the extra fat and calories.
  • To make the dish even more healthy, the broccoli quantity could be upped to a full 2 cups if desired.
  • I was pleasantly surprised at how minimal the prep work was for this meal. I was also impressed by how easily the dish came together – heat, toss, stir… and done!
  • The last step of the recipe really is important: the individual servings definitely need salt and pepper additions. I don’t always follow this last ‘suggestion’, as it seems to be standard issue in SO many recipes – yet in my experience, more often than not extra salt simply isn’t needed in a dish. However, for this recipe, the simple salt/pepper seasoning at the end makes a noticeable positive impact on the entire flavor profile of the meal.
  • Chopped seitan, soy crumbles, or tofu could be added to individual servings to make them more of a complete meal, if desired. (I invoked both the seitan and the crumbles options, and both tasted very good.  The crumbles + creamy orzo tasted like a light cheesy mac.  Yum.)
  • I would absolutely service this dish to company (as a side, not as an entree); but if I made this for guests, I would use fresh steamed broccoli in place of the thawed frozen broccoli.
  • This dish tastes great reheated, too. It really is the total package. A definite keeper! :)

Stef

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About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
This entry was posted in broccoli, cheese, pasta, postaweek2011, tomatoes, vegetables, vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Creamy Veggie Orzo

  1. Carla says:

    What is it about orzo? I love orzo! Maybe it’s the texture?

    Like

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