Tasty and mostly simple food for the whole family.

Tasty, healthy, simple, verstile, practical, seasonal, fun food for all to enjoy. I will endeavour to make things gluten-free, dairy-free (cow's milk only here, I'm not super-human), and low sugar as able. I hope others feel motivated to add their recipes to this collection so we can all try them. Thank you!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The first recipe! Orzo with Broccoli, Feta and Olives

It was hard to come up with the best recipe to start with, so I went with our household favorite comfort food.  This is what I make when Im really trying to butter Mike up, or it is his birthday, or we just need it. My mom made this dish for Mike and I the first afternoon we drove into town after graduating from Physical Therapy school.  We pulled the U-Haul up to the curb, came in the house and scooped up a big bowl.  This dish takes 10 minutes to prep up, but then pulling it together is a snap when you are ready to.  You can do it all at once or, if you are working around fits and burst of productive time (read: naptimes), you can prep it up in advance and it only takes 10-15 minutes of attention when you are ready.  This recipe was adapted from the one in The Seattle Times in September 1994.

Orzo with Brocolli, Feta and Olives
Makes approximately 4 servings as a main course.

2c   Orzo
1     Bunch Broccoli (about 1lb) cut into florettes

1/4c Olive oil
1/4c Pine nuts
1/2t  Dried crushed red pepper

3/4-1c Feta, crumbled (Sheep's milk has the best flavor here)
3/4c  Kalamato olives, pited and quartered
3/4c  Freshly grated pecorino or parmesan
1/4c  Chopped basil or 3T basil pesto

Cook Orzo in large pot of salted boiling water until tender but still with firm bite, about 8 minutes.  Add broccoli to water and cook 2 minutes more. 

Meanwhile, heat oil in small heavy bottom skillet over medium heat.  Add pine nuts and stir until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Add crushed red pepper and stir until aromatic, about 30 sec.  Remove from heat.

Drain orzo/broccoli in colander and transfer to large bowl (or back to the pot if you aren't so worried about presentation!).  Add oil mixture and toss to coat.  Add olives, cheeses and basil (or pesto) and toss.  Season with salt and pepper as you like!

Note:  as  with probably all the recipes I will think to share, this is quite flexible.  I would like to think that more cheese is always equal to more flavor.  Adding sauteed chicken is a nice touch.  Also, a few weeks ago, our broccoli wasn't ready yet, so I used zucchini instead.  I missed the texture of the broccoli, but actually liked the flavor that the zucch added even more.  This time, I used both broccoli and zucchini (but forgot the basil, ouch!)