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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Quick Creamy Orzo Risotto

My little one was home sick today. So, I wanted to make something quick for lunch, at the same time I wanted to make sure it was something he liked. Mac n cheese is a very popular choice with him but I was very particular about including vegetables in his meal. Then I thought of making risotto with orzo and vegetables.

Risotto is an Italian rice dish typically cooked with arborio rice and broth to a creamy consistency. After seeing N number of cooking shows and contests where the judges typically rip the participants to shreds over the perfection of cooking a risotto, I wasn't too keen on trying it. But I had also read somewhere that a shortcut option would be to use orzo instead.

Orzo is a pasta shaped like a large grain of rice. And pasta out of a box is definitely easy to cook :) Can't really mess that! So, orzo pasta it was.

Now came the vegetables part. I would have loved to roast some spring vegetables and proceed from that, but this week has pretty much been making do with a thread bare refrigerator since I haven't had the chance to do my weekly grocery shopping! But a foray into the freezer revealed half a packet of frozen Italian vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, beans and zucchini) and my requirement was complete!

Preparation & Cooking - 15 minutes            Serves - 2
Ingredients:
Orzo - 1 cup
Mixed vegetables - ½ cup, diced chunky
Vegetable Stock - 1qt
Mixed Dried Herbs - 2 teaspoons (I used Parsley, Basil, Oregano, Thyme & Rosemary, you could use Italian Seasoning mix instead)
Fresh Cracked Pepper - 1 teaspoon
Salt - to taste
Heavy Cream - ½ cup
Parmesan Cheese - ¼ cup, grated

Method:
  • Microwave the vegetables for 3-4 minutes and set aside.
  • Simultaneously, bring the vegetable stock to a boil.
  • Add the orzo, cooked vegetables and the stock and let it all cook for 10-11 minutes (that's usually enough to cook the orzo al dente and the vegetables will be done too as they were previously microwaved.
  • Switch off the flame. Add freshly cracked pepper and a little salt if required. Add the cream and the grated Parmesan cheese. Let it all melt and thicken in the heat of the cooked risotto.
Rich creamy orzo risotto is ready! Serve immediately.

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