GINNA PARSONS: Pasta dish easy, quick and delish

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

I received the May issue of Cooking Light last week and immediately marked a half dozen recipes in it that I wanted to try. One interesting thing this magazine does is start with one staple – in this case orzo – and then give three or four variations for different dishes.
We’ve long enjoyed orzo at our house, but I’m surprised by the number of people who haven’t discovered this little pasta. It’s a little bigger than a grain of rice and shaped like a lemon seed. It cooks up quickly and is extremely versatile.
I’ve fixed it before and dressed it with a little butter, Parmesan and lemon juice. Sometimes, I’ll throw it in to a pot of minestrone or vegetable soup.
The Cooking Light article paired cooked orzo with Pecorino and Mushrooms, Tarragon and Peas, Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil, and Garlicky Spinach.
We went the Orzo with Garlicky Spinach route and served roasted salmon on top. It was absolutely delicious. All three of us cleaned our plates. The recipe said it makes six servings, but I put two servings on each plate – each serving had 50 calories – so doubling wasn’t an issue.
I’m sure this side would also be good with other fish, chicken or pork.

Orzo with Garlicky Spinach
3⁄4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 tablespoon butter
4 cups fresh spinach
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄4 cup fat-free chicken broth
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
3⁄8 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting fat and salt.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and cook 1 minute or until browned. Add spinach and garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in cooked orzo, Parmesan, broth, vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir well.
Serves 6.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.