Afflicted as I am with White Food Fatigue, I have been on a hunt, long-term, for some whole grain orzo. It just wasn’t turning up. Not at Whole Foods, not at the Little League health food stores, certainly not at the local supermarket. I was losing steam. My fixation slackening, I let go of the quest, and then, magically, the object appeared before me. Isn’t that the way? At an unassuming specialty food shop on Yonge St. in Toronto called La Salumeria. Eccola! A box of spelt orzo! You’d think I’d won a box of chocolates. (Which actually did happen recently, for a recipe I submitted to a contest over at Aurora Importing.) But back to the big prize……….. Spelt is a grain similar to wheat, older, and some think wiser, as it has more protein and is easier to digest. Orzo is a form of pasta that is shaped like an oversized grain of rice. Like a cat with a canary, I was grinning all the way home and promptly put the orzo to work in a pilaf with vegetables. This is very quick to prepare and can serve as a side dish or, presto change-o, as a main course when stuffed into another vegetable such as squash or eggplant.
Recipe: Orzo Pesto Primavera
1 cup spelt orzo
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cups vegetables, chopped small (e.g., green beans, mushrooms, peppers,
asparagus, cauliflower, eggplant)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ c vegetable broth
½ c pesto
lemon zest and parmesan (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to boil and stir in the orzo. Cook for 10 min. Stir a few times to help keep grains separate.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil on med-high.
Stir in vegetables and sauté briefly, stirring frequently, only to just cooked. Stir in garlic. Turn off heat.
Drain orzo. Add to skillet and stir in broth and pesto.
Heat for a few minutes, stirring. Turn into serving dish and top with lemon and parmesan. Makes 3 to 4 servings.