Comfort food means so many different things to so many people, but for me it means warm, cheesy pasta in all shapes and forms. And this orzo dish more than fits in the category of comfort food for me. I knew from the first time that I read this recipe that I would like it and I was wrong, I don’t just like it, I LOVE it! Orzo itself is an awesome little pasta, it is pasta that looks like rice but has the texture and flavor of pasta, so it is like the best of both worlds if you ask me. This dish is so versatile and can be used as a side dish next to so many main course items. I have served it with steak quite a few times and also chicken, however it would be great with grilled fish or even with your favorite vegetarian entree. I have also enjoyed it left over as a main course for lunch with a small salad or bowl of fruit, it makes the perfect lite meal.
In her book, Giada says that kids love this recipe because it is so similar to a mac-n-cheese. I have to agree that it is the perfect kid friendly dish. My little girls have always loved it and practically licked their plates clean whenever I make it.
This recipe does make a very large amount, however, it is wonderful reheated and it also freezes really well. I guarantee that you and your family will not be disappointed with this recipe.Creamy Orzo Printer Friendly Version
1 pound orzo (rice shaped pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (14.5) ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large, heavy saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cream and peas. Add the orzo and toss to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the Parmesan cheese to the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Stir the pasta mixture until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, adding enough of the reserved pasta water to create a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Adapted From: Giada De Laurentiis, Everyday Pasta