Toasted Orzo with Garlic and Spinach
Pan-toasting the pasta in a bit of butter and olive oil adds depth of flavor to this simple orzo recipe. Combined with a hearty portion of sautéed garlic, fresh spinach and grated Parmesan, it's a versatile side dish that complements a wide variety of simple main dishes.
- 3/4 lb. orzo
- 3 tbsp. butter divided
- 2 tbsp. olive oil divided
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth may need as much as 3 3/4 cups
- 4 cloves garlic or 5, minced
- 10 ounces fresh spinach roughly chopped
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan (preferably nonstick) over medium heat.
- Add the dry orzo, stir to coat thoroughly with the butter and oil and cook, stirring frequently, until a good portion of the orzo is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in 2-1/2 cups of the chicken broth and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cover, reduce the heat slightly and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Although it will most likely still be too firm, check the orzo for doneness. Add another 1/4 cup of broth, cover and cook until it's absorbed, 2 minutes.
- Repeat the process, adding broth in 1/4 cup increments until the orzo is tender. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Return the pan to the stove over medium heat and add the remaining butter and olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté until soft and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Start adding spinach, a handful at a time and continue cooking until wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Return the orzo to the pan, combine with the spinach and heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese, adjust the seasoning to taste and transfer to a serving dish.