Lemon & Parmesan Orzo with Kale

Lemon and Parmesan Orzo with Kale-3Time for a confession.

As much as I love to cook, I usually have to follow a recipe. I can alter a bit here and there, adding a spice I like – oregano or cumin – or omitting something obvious like walnuts or chick peas, but generally, I need a set of ingredients and instructions in front of me to get started.

Luckily, making a dish out of ingredients on hand is not difficult with an internet search engine.  So when I found myself with half a bag of orzo (started before the recent quinoa kick) and half a bunch of kale, I was thrilled to find a recipe that highlighted these ingredients to serve as a guideline. And I usually have a bucket of grated parmesan cheese in the cheese drawer, and a lemon hanging around in my fruit bowl, so this recipe was a perfect fit.

Lemon and Parmesan Orzo with Kale-2I love the texture of orzo. Orzo and other pastas {yes, orzo is a pasta, despite the fact that it looks like large grains of rice} have kind of fallen by the wayside, with whole grains like quinoa, farro, and bulgur on the rise. But an occasional orzo dish now and then, especially with some dark leafy greens mixed in, won’t hurt. I never used to be a lemon person, but it is so versatile in cooking that I am coming around. It really brightens up this dish – give it a try!

Lemon and Parmesan Orzo with Kale

Lemon & Parmesan Orzo with Kale
 
Ingredients
  • ½ t ground turmeric
  • 1 c uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • ½ bunch lacinato (or more), sliced thin
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • sprinkle of ground nutmeg
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Fill a medium or large sized pot with water, and bring to a boil.
    {While the water is coming to a boil, start on the kale, below.}
  2. Sprinkle the turmeric over the boiling water, stir in the orzo and return to a boil.
  3. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the orzo in a colander or strainer with small holes.
  5. Pour the drained orzo back into the pot. {You will add the kale and mix in this pot}
  6. To make the kale, heat a large skillet over medium heat. When it's hot, add the olive oil and heat the oil.
  7. Add the garlic slices in the hot oil for a few seconds until it begins to sizzle.
  8. Stir the kale into the garlic, cover the skillet with a lid, and cook for a few minutes until the kale gets tender. If it's too dry, add a bit of lemon juice, or a little more oil.
  9. Remove the cover and continue cooking until any extra moisture cooks out.
  10. Stir the kale and garlic into the orzo, and add the lemon juice, nutmeg, and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. You can serve this dish warm, cold, or at room temperature. Sprinkle on some additional cheese before serving, if you would like.

 

Lemon and Parmesan Orzo with Kale-5

Lemon and Parmesan Orzo with Kale-4

This would be a great pasta salad for a pot luck, or side dish for a BBQ (come ooooon, spring and summer!). Try mixing in some diced poached chicken to make this side dish a full meal.

Recipe adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/orzo-with-kale/

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