Wednesday, August 5

orzo pasta with chicken, peppers and arugula

I'd never had, much less made anything with orzo pasta. I really liked it, and a little bit goes a long way. One serving size is 1/2 of a cup dry and I found that, once cooked very satisfying. I also liked that I could buy exactly the amount I wanted in HEB's bulk section and only pay a dollar and some change. That section is great when I need a little special ingredient but don't want to buy a large portion of it; or if I want to try something new --like orzo!
This is a great base for any veggies you have sitting around. I've been into arugula and have been finding tons of places in which to throw it. Definitely toast the pine nuts.

orzo pasta with chicken and arugula
{serves 4}
2 T. olive oil
1 small shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 of a red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
2 cups arugula
1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted*
1/8 to 1/4 cup lemon vinaigrette dressing**
*{toasting pine nuts: add to dry pot on medium heat, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and fragrant}

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add orzo pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain. Add to large bowl with toasted pine nuts and set aside. I toasted the nuts in the same pot, once the pasta was finished.

While pasta is cooking, pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into non-stick or cast iron skillet. Stir in onion, peppers and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes, stirring often. Increase heat to medium high, pour in white wine; cook about 3 minutes. Liquid should simmer and reduce significantly.
Reduce heat to low, stir in chicken and arugula. Cover, and cook to warm through, about 3 minutes. Uncover and stir until arugula is wilted. Add mixture to orzo and pine nuts and toss with dressing.

You may need a little less pasta than that and perhaps a bit more dressing. I plated ours and added the chicken, pepper, arugula mixture and dressing separately to each plate to be sure the proportions were right. Then tossed.

**{if you don't want to make my lemon vinaigrette, you can also toss this with about 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil and a squirt of dijon mustard, or go a different route and do balsamic vinaigrette}


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  2. We made this on Thursday for dinner ~ We loved it and Dad learned what "al dente" means. :)