Orzo is delicious rice shaped pasta originally from Italy, but also commonly eaten throughout the Mediterranean. When cooked, orzo resembles rice grains in both shape and size. It is a light and healthy pasta that works well with most any combination of tastes and flavors. I serve orzo pasta quite often as either a light meal or as an accompaniment with grilled foods.
Orzo is a great dish when entertaining and it is perfect for picnics too. It’s a yummy kid-friendly dish and a great way to sneak in some vegetables if you have a picky eater on hand. This recipe is quick, simple and fast – my Orange Cardamom Scented Orzo is always a great addition to any meal.
ORANGE & CARDAMOM SCENTED ORZO
1½ cups orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
½ tsp grated ginger (peeled)
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup lightly toasted pistachios, roughly chopped
½ tbsp orange zest, finely grated (a microplane works really well)
¼ tsp ground cardamom powder
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
¼ cup cilantro leaves, finely minced
2+ tbsp oil (olive, vegetable or canola)
Cook the orzo pasta as directed on the package until just al dente. Drain well, toss with just a little oil and set aside until needed. Do not rinse the pasta.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the orange juice with the 1 tsp of oil. Whisk vigorously to combine and then add in the grated ginger along with the orange zest, ground cardamom powder, crushed red pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Stir to combine all of the ingredients together and then add in the warm orzo pasta along with the pistachios and cilantro leaves. Mix well to combine and serve as part of any meal.
The combinations of various ingredients are endless, you can use just about anything such as lemon, pine nuts, almonds, pine nuts, golden raisins, basil, mint leaves, thyme, oregano, parsley, rosemary…
You can also add various cheeses, meats, seafood, tofu or vegetables such as baby spinach, arugula, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, green peas, corn kernels, tomatoes, cucumbers…
Here are a few of my favorite combinations but feel free to create your own ☺. In fact, I highly encourage it.
• lemon juice, lemon zest, saffron, pine nuts
• arugula, mushrooms, cooked chickpeas, asiago cheese
• almonds, craisins, goat cheese, basil
• peanuts, carrots, green onions
• tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh oregano, feta cheese
• green peas, shallots, curry leaves, Indian spices