Sunday, June 10, 2012

Herbed Orzo with Peas

This was the first new recipe I tried in my new house. Inspired by the chive plants growing in my backyard (and to be honest, the fact that I had a bag of whole wheat orzo in the cabinet), I made this easy side I'd had bookmarked since even before I moved. Organizing a new house and working on  home improvement projects doesn't leave too much time for elaborate culinary creations, but I'm certainly not willing to give up healthy and flavorful meals just because I don't have as much free time as before.

This side is the height of simplicity, needing just your protein of choice to become a complete meal (in this case I made maple mustard glazed salmon). Nutty whole wheat orzo is the perfect canvas for fresh herbs and peas and savory Parmesan cheese, brought together with a bright splash of lemon juice, made rich and substantial with a generous splash of your best olive oil. Delicious warm, at room temperature, or even cool, this can be served at either a sit-down dinner or backyard barbecue, pairing effortlessly with almost any protein. Another recipe that's an ode to the season, there isn't a better time to give this recipe a try as a bounty of fresh peas floods the farmers' market.

Herbed Orzo with Peas
adapted from Martha Stewart
serves 4

1 cup whole wheat orzo
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, chives, cilantro, or parsley
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups frozen or fresh peas
Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook orzo until al dente, adding peas during the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking time.

2. Drain orzo and peas and transfer to a medium bowl. Add herbs and lemon juice and toss to combine. Season with to taste with salt and pepper and toss with olive oil and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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