Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Onion

27 Nov

Orzo pasta with spinach and onion

Simple pasta dishes are perfect for a busy mid-week dinner. It’s easy to become stuck making the same meals (you can only eat spaghetti and sauce so many times), so orzo pasta is a great alternative. Use spare veggies from the fridge for this recipe, or plan ahead and include iron-rich greens like spinach or kale.

‘Orzo,’ meaning ‘barley’ in Italian, was originally made out of barley. It’s now made out of wheat flour and, because of its small size and rice-like shape, is quite verstile (in soup, cold pasta salad, or hot as in the recipe below).

Measurements in this recipe are for ease of preparation, but if you’re comfortable, feel free to estimate. I like to avoid measuring spoons whenever possible!

Ingredients (makes four servings)

  • 1 orzo pasta (1 pound box)
  • 2 T Extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for sauteing onions
  • 1 T Balsamic vinegrette
  • 1 T lemon juice (or juice of half a lemon, optional zest)
  • Spinach, whole (not chopped), fresh or frozen
  • Red onion, diced2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Instructions

    1. Generously salt (1 or 2 pinches) about 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add orzo pasta and stir once. Cook until al dente.
    2. Drain pasta with fine mesh strainer. Saute garlic and onions in a small amount of olive oil on medium heat until onions are slightly translucient.
    3. Add orzo to pot, change to low heat. Add olive oil, balsamic, and lemon juice.
    4. Gently incorporate spinach into pasta until wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

    When I had this dish for lunch the next day, I put a tiny bit of oil in a pan and lightly fried the pasta (similar to making fried rice). It was delicious!


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