This dish is less labor-intensive than classic risotto, as it involves a shorter cooking time and, even better, a lot less stirring. Orzo, a long, rice-shaped pasta, is available at most supermarkets and gourmet shops.
Make this delicately flavored dish as an accompaniment for roast chicken or lamb and grilled sausages.
Servings: 4 - 6 side-dish
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup white or yellow onion, minced (1/4 cup)
- 8 ounces dried orzo pasta
- 1 rounded tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as a combination of dill and oregano, plus a pinch extra for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 3 to 4 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth, heated to barely bubbling (may substitute vegetable broth)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Zest of 1 lemon (at least 2 teaspoons)
- 1 small zucchini, trimmed then shredded (3/4 to 1 cup)
- 4 ounces manouri cheese, broken into large crumbles, for garnish
Heat the butter and oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, until the butter has melted.
Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes, until it begins to soften, then add the orzo, the tablespoon of herbs and the salt, stirring to coat the pasta evenly. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until some of the grains begin to look and smell slightly toasted.
Slowly add 3 cups of the broth, stirring gently. Reduce the heat to medium-low; partially cover and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is almost tender and most of the broth has been absorbed. The consistency should be a little soupy; add up to 1 cup of broth, as needed.
Grind some pepper over the pasta (to taste), then add the lemon zest and zucchini, stirring to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring, until the zucchini is bright green. Taste and adjust salt as needed. The pasta should be tender yet still holds its shape.
Ladle the orzotto into a serving bowl and crumble the cheese on top. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped herbs and serve.
From cookbook author Domenica Marchetti.
Tested by Domenica Marchetti.
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