That’s unheard of, absolutely unheard of! You can’t use pasta to make risotto, can you?
Well it doesn’t make a true risotto per sé, but it does make something similar. Ever heard of orzo? During this year’s spring (Europe and North America’s spring season), I started seeing a bunch of interesting recipes with orzo and went to my favourite health food grocery store AND my normal grocery store to look for it but could never find it. Then last week while walking up and down the aisles at Woolworths I found orzo. Had to get it. Had to experiment like I am known for doing.
So yesterday I made this salad with orzo pasta in it and let’s just say it didn’t turn out as I thought it would. I then thought I’d use it for something else. Something that called for basil. And let me tell you about this basil thing – yesterday mom and I went to our local grocery store Spar to get our groceries and you know what? They didn’t have fresh basil! The thing is, just before the weekend we went to look for basil as well and NADA! So do you know what we did? We went to the garden centre right beside it and bought our own basil plant with a parsley plant.
If you’ve been reading my posts for a while now you’d know I had some herb plants in Holland. Well I missed being able to sit by the basil or chives and just smell their aromatic aromas so we decided to get herbs for here too! Plus with this fresh basil plant I could make the dinner I wanted to make.
This is what I made:
It does look quite like risotto, doesn’t it? Shame it isn’t long grain rice but pasta shaped like rice! Sneaky starch!
I got the recipe from here but I did change it up ever so slightly.
- 4 cups (946ml) chicken stock
- 2 cups (170g) orzo pasta
- ½ cup (43g) parmesan cheese
- ½ cup (45g) fresh basil, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
Pour stock into a large pan and bring to boil at medium heat.
Once boiling add dried orzo pasta and cook for approximately nine minutes (or until cooked), remember to stir often as to prevent sticking to pan.
Remove from heat (if water remains do not fret, it will make for creamy dish) and mix in both dried and fresh basil.
Stir in Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes and finish off with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Pretty simple eh? I didn’t even look at the recipe to re-write the directions. My only problem is converting cups into grams or milliliters. My cooking style will ALWAYS be American when it comes to measuring things out. Though I can tell you that working with an oven at Celsius rather than Fahrenheit is much easier. What a contradiction, right?
Well that is how you know that I am an expat.
I measure height of people in feet and inches, small lengths in meters and feet, long lengths in kilometers, weight in kilos, temperature of weather in Celsius, body temperature and fever points in Fahrenheit, and cooking measurements in cups, Tablespoons, and teaspoons. I am a lost cause! Really, I am! I don’t even know how I became like this!
I mean you can tell me you are 1.85 meters in height and all I would know is that is 10 centimeters taller than I am, but I have such poor math skills that I wouldn’t be able to find out that height in feet and inches that I would just nod my head and find that interesting. But google has just informed me that 1.85m is 6’1.
Anyway, enough about how weird I am, back to orzo.
I don’t think I am a fan of it. After cooking it both yesterday and today I’ve decided it is a bit too creamy for my likings. The water makes it as though I’ve put cream into it to make it into cream of chicken soup with rice. Except I just add water and cook. How odd is that?
Creamy pasta without the use of cream.
Weird weird weird.
Well, I won’t be experimenting with orzo for a while. Two dishes in two days is enough to satisfy my experimentation for some time.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this recipe and at least think of it better than we do!