- 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
- 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.
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! :)