I could cook pasta every night of the week and make everyone happy. But at the same time I like to make a meal that falls under my definition of “healthy” and “delicious”.
Orzo is familiar as a side dish or floating in soup, but I find that toasting it first and mixing it with lots of vegetables makes it ten times more complex and interesting.
I’ve played on the Greek heritage of orzo in this recipe and borrowed from the Mediterranean pantry by using chickpeas, cumin, lemon and tangy feta cheese. I would serve this on a pile of arugula and call it lunch or dinner.
1 cup orzo pasta
2 tablespoons butter
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped seedless or Persian cucumber
Baby arugula greens
- Warm a dry 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat; add the orzo and toast until golden brown and nutty-smelling, about 10 minutes, tossing the pan frequently. Remove from the heat and cool.
- Bring 3 quarts salted water to a boil and cook the orzo until al dente. Drain and transfer to a bowl along with the butter, stirring until butter melts completely.
- Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper; pour over the orzo. Add the chickpeas, pine nuts, dill and cucumber to the bowl and gently toss together. Top with the cheese and serve over the arugula.