March 3, 2010

Mushroom Orzo Pilaf

Once in a while Hubby winds up working late and doesn't make it home in time for dinner. And while I do miss him to pieces, I embrace those nights with open arms! This gives me one night to test a new recipe that I know he would never even consider consuming. Usually it's something with a new cheese or lots of veggies, because these are things he hates. I would have to say that the top most hated vegetable of his is the mushroom...any and all. I won't even get into his reasoning because it is that rediculous, but I never use them in a dish when he's eating dinner with us. Needless to say, mushrooms are on the top of the list for my once-in-a-while-whatever-I-want dinners.

This week I broke out a full tub of baby bellas (baby portobellos) for dinner. I am not shy of mushrooms and in this recipe I used double the amount. Simple, everyday ingredients are thrown together to mingle - and mingle they do. The onion became sweet and tender and the mushrooms turned out perfect and earthy. This recipe brought together my two favorite ingredients, pasta and mushrooms, so of course I couldn't resist. I looked forward to this dinner for days, tasting it's yummyness before I even cooked it up.

I ate enough to serve three people (I wish I was joking) and I'd gladly nibble at the rest for lunch tomorrow. This was the first time I had ever cooked orzo and it reminded me of a much quicker, less expensive risotto. Seeing as I can't resist a good risotto, this meal has quickly earned it's spot in my personal recipe book. I have to note here that I did not include fresh parsley in my dish. I went outside with scissors in hand only to find that my parsley has completely died off. Not wanting to ruin the perfectly blended flavors with dried stale parsley, I simply left it out but recommend adding it yourself if you can.

Orzo Pilaf with Mushrooms (adapted from Bon Appetit; Best Pastas, Vol. One)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bellas and doubled the amount, which turned out about a 50/50 ratio of mushrooms to pasta, mmm)
2 C low-sodium chicken stock
1 C orzo pasta
2 Tbsp fresh minced parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and saute until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo; reduce heat to med-low. Cover and simmer until orzo is tender and has absorbed all liquid, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve Immediately.

FYI: Similar to the way I finish my risotto, I added a tablespoon of butter at the end and stirred in a good helping of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. If you do add the cheese, do it before you season with salt and adjust as needed.

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