Spring Orzo with Artichokes, Peas, and Scallions

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This quick pasta dish comes together in 10 minutes flat -- literally the time it takes to cook the pasta. I love using orzo because it's small and tender, and yields itself nicely to a simple olive oil garlic sauce. You can serve this pasta hot or frankly even better, cold as a pasta salad. And don't forget the mounds of freshly grated romano cheese!

This recipe makes large bowls for 4 people, or appetizer portions for 8. If you're having a party, double it all and serve it at room temperature as a pasta salad for a cheap and delicious way to feed a large crowd!

Spring Orzo with Artichokes, Peas, and Scallions
1/2 lb (i.e., half a box) orzo pasta
1 cup artichoke hearts (in water or oil), drained and chopped into bite-sized pieces
4 scallions, washed and ends trimmed off and then cut into thin slices
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked off the stems
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 cup (more more to taste) finely grated romano cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)

Bring a pot of cold water to a boil. Once boiling add a good amount of salt (about 1/8 cup) then add the orzo and cook 10 minutes or according to package directions. Once the orzo is cooked, drain very well and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the artichokes, scallions, peas, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a small pan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute to cook out the raw pungent flavor of the garlic; conversely, if you want the super garlic taste just add the garlic raw and oil cold to the orzo. Add the cooked warm garlic and all the oil to the orzo and veggies, right on top. Add the lemon zest and juice, thyme, and most of the romano cheese, saving some to sprinkle on top. Mix it all to combine and coat well. Top with the rest of the romano cheese and the pine nuts if you're using and serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.

No comments: