Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Orzo with Spinach Pesto

There are times, ok, always, when I feel guilty that something so simple deserves such accolades.  I came of "cooking age" during the time of "in order to be true gourmet it must be expensive to make, difficult to pronounce and make your guests feel inferior." 

I never enjoyed this time.  I didnt ever appreciate the multitude of ingredients that didnt make sense on my tongue.  I never liked the intricate work involved to produce something that I wasnt really proud of, and I really didnt like purchasing expensive ingredients that could be used only once...

Today's way of cooking is mine!  A few simple ingredients, high quality, in season, and perfectly paired.  But still I feel guilty when something this tasty was so simple to make.

I encourage you to try it. Make your own changes and upgrades, then serve it to your family.  Accept the praise and hide the guilt!

Orzo with Spinach Pesto (Pesto recipe inspired by Giada DeLaurentiis)
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
Combine the spinach, pine nuts, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a processor. Lightly pulse. With the machine running, gradually add 1/3 cup of the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy. Add salt and pulse. Put whatever portion of the pesto you won't be using into ice cube trays and store in the freezer for future use.

1 cup orzo cooked as directed
3/4-1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
Crumbled feta (optional)

Mix 1-2 tablespoons of pesto with still warm orzo.  Toss with the sun-dried tomatoes and feta.  Garnish with basil if desired.

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