Orzo Overload

It was such a small unassuming box.  But that small box filled my belly for lunch for almost an entire week.

About a week ago, I set out to make a new side dish for supper. Searching through the cupboard, I came upon a box of orzo that I had bought a few months prior. I think the purchase was the result of a recipe that I wanted to try, but I no longer had any idea of where the recipe was — or what it contained, for that matter.

But with a vague idea in my head and some fresh veggies in the frig, I concocted something that was quite tasty — although it seemed to multiply as the week went on and I ate it as leftovers.

Orzo, for those unfamiliar with it, is a pasta, but a pasta that looks like rice in its uncooked form — and like large rice kernels in its cooked form. The box it comes in is relatively small compared to the other pastas, but when cooked, it makes a whole lot of orzo. Orzo is often used in soups, but I decided to make it into something more resembling a risotto.

I used the whole box of orzo, but if doing so again, would use only half, and those are the proportions I’ll give you here.

 Vegetable Orzo Risotto

Sauté ½ of a medium onion, 1 stalk celery and 1 large carrot, all finely diced, in 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil. When vegetables are translucent, add 3 cups chicken broth and bring to a rolling boil.

Heat 3 cups chicken broth to a rolling boil and add ½ of a 16-ounce box orzo. Cook until orzo is tender and has absorbed most of the broth; drain off any excess.

In the meantime, steam 1 cup broccoli florets until tender-crisp. (I do this in the microwave.) Fold drained broccoli into the orzo. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Serve as a side dish with chicken, pork or fish.