Peppered Orzo

I have lots of vegetarian friends and I love cooking food they can eat.  A lot of it’s amazing, but there is a depth of flavor meat brings to a dish which can’t be replicated.  It’s a heartiness which fills you from the very first bite to the last, even when you are just working with beef or chicken broth and not the intact protein.

Using beef or chicken broth in your meal is a great and inexpensive way to bring a rich flavor and an added protein to your dish with little cost to your wallet.  My Peppered Orzo is started with browned onions and sautéed garlic for an initial burst of flavor.  Simmered in beef broth and finished with Parmesan and fresh spinach it certainly leaves me licking the bottom of my bowl.

Peppered Orzo
Serves 4

1 TBS olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups orzo
3 cups beef broth, low sodium
½ TBS fresh black pepper
¼ cup Parmesan (plus more for sprinkling)
1½ cups fresh spinach

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add onions and season.  Brown until edges begin to curl.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Add orzo to pan and allow to brown roughly 1 minute, tossing frequently.

Add broth and pepper.  Bring to a simmer.  Cook until liquid is fully absorbed, stirring occasionally.  Test seasonings as it’s cooking.

Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan.  Fold in spinach and serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan on top.

Note:  If you’re vegetarian, simply use vegetable broth.  If you are a gluten free kid the same flavor components here can be made with Arborio rice.  The broth to rice ratio is 3 1/3 cups broth to 1 cup rice.Recipe in print-friendly format

About Mikaela Cowles

I’m a food-gobbling, book-reading, aspiring photog. Born and raised in Seattle, I love dancing in the rain, bouquets of fresh basil and green grass between my toes. I like how kneading butter into flour makes my fingers soft. I’m passionate about all things sweet potato. I prefer my coffee black, my scotch on the rocks and my steak bloody. I hunt, when I have time; play basketball; and hike. I’ve been known to laugh so hard I hyperventilate. And, I’m the owner of Making Language Count, a boutique freelance writing business.

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