Confession, I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with orzo until today (could I really consider myself an Italian food fanatic and never have made orzo?). I’ve gotten it at restaurants and what not but I’ve never really thought to make it at home. I don’t know why because I love its texture,and I’m a total pasta addict so it’s crazy that I’ve never cooked with it. After making this though, that’s definitely going to change.
This stuff is so easy and so delicious! It seems similar to a pasta covered in alfredo sauce and then it has an addition of fresh spinach and parsley (but yes it is way lighter in calories than a traditional alfredo sauce and it isn’t so heavy). It makes a perfect side dish, or I’m sure it would make a great main entree if you wanted to toss in some kind of protein like chicken or shrimp. And if you can’t resist, feel free to add in more spinach or garlic. Enjoy!
Parmesan and Spinach Orzo
An easy to make side dish that's perfect for your favorite Italian dinners!
- 2 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat orzo
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 Tbsp finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 tsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- 1 1/2 cups packed chopped spinach
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 3 oz . finely shredded Parmesan (3/4 cup slightly packed), plus more for topping
Cook orzo according to directions listed on package. Meanwhile in a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add in garlic and flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. While whisking slowly pour in milk and cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
Mix in chopped spinach and parsley and allow to heat just until spinach begins to wilt, about 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in Parmesan. Stir until cheese melts (returning to warm heat if needed to help melt cheese). Stir in drained orzo and serve warm garnished with additional Parmesan if desired.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Life as a Strawberry