February 5th, 2009

Orzo Risotto: Ultimate Comfort Food

Photo: Smohundro

Back in December, I got sick. Twice. In a row. A stomach virus followed by a flu-like situation. It was ugly. But, thankfully, the one thing Mike loves to cook also happens to be the one thing that makes me feel better, no matter what. So he was happy to oblige when my first request for food in days was his version of Orzo Risotto.

Mike’s been making this dish for years. It’s based on Mark Bittman’s recipe by the same name in How to Cook Everything. Mike’s version adds tomatoes, which, somehow, totally transforms this cozy one-pot meal. It goes from being a simple, quick pasta dish, to the ultimate comfort food. We use a lot of grated cheese, which gives the dish our nickname: adult mac-n-cheese.

Mike’s Orzo “Risotto”
adapted from Mark Bittman’s Orzo Risotto, How to Cook Everything
(can be served to eating kids 10+ mos)

2 tablespoons organic olive oil
1 organic onion, chopped (finely minced for younger eaters)
1 box organic chicken broth (32 fl oz)
1 box organic orzo (16 oz)
1 (28 oz) can crushed organic tomatoes
1 cup grated organic parmesan, plus extra to top (optional)
salt and pepper

1. Heat stock in a small pot. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, sauté onions in olive oil until translucent. Add orzo and stir until well coated. Season with salt and pepper (unless serving to very little ones).

2. Add hot stock to orzo all at once. Cover and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. After about 10 minutes, as liquid starts to thicken and orzo puffs up, add entire can of tomatoes.

3. Turn up heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat again and cover. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until orzo reaches consistency of risotto.

4. Remove heat and drizzle with additional olive oil (optional). Mix in grated cheese and let sit for 5 minutes. If you like it extra cheesy (like us), top with more grated cheese before serving. And, if you skipped the salt and pepper earlier, be sure to season adult and older kid portions with S&P before serving.

Note: It’s super easy to add veggies to this recipe for eaters of any age. Frozen peas or a bunch of chopped up greens work well. Or, try Bittman’s version (especially if you or your child are sensitive to tomatoes) and mix in sweet potato or squash puree and a dash of nutmeg.

3 Responses

  1. [...] posted some of our favorites before. At Stacie’s house, there’s quick and easy Orzo Risotto and Quickest Curried Eggs. In our house? I turn to things like 10-minute Sausage and Bean [...]

  2. [...] make meat sauce. See, the ChowPapa used to make a mean meat sauce back in the day and, along with orzo risotto, it became one of those dishes that only he made. But it’s been ages [...]

  3. joe neil says:

    The sauce is great. I tried to cook it and my friend said that this is their new favorite.

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