News from the Tennessee Valley Food

Funny pasta packed with flavor

The Associated Press

Orzo is a funny little pasta that looks like rice, but cooks in just minutes.

It's great in soups, pasta salads or tossed warm with finely chopped greens and cheese.

Or toss cooked orzo with toasted pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, salt and feta for a heavenly dish.

Orzo also makes a grand risotto-like dish, as Carolyn Wente and Kimball Jones demonstrate in their recent cookbook, "Sharing the Vineyard Table" (Ten Speed Press, 2005, $24.95). This only takes 30 minutes to make.

Orzo with Caramelized Onions and Asiago

6 to 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 cups orzo pasta

1 cups grated Asiago cheese

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a slow boil.

In a large skillet or saucepan set over a medium flame, melt and combine the olive oil and butter. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Season lightly with salt and pepper, then add the orzo and continue cooking until the pasta browns lightly.

Using a ladle, carefully add the stock to the skillet. Bring to a boil and cover. Turn off the heat and let stand 20 minutes. The orzo should absorb the liquid. If any remains, cook over a low heat until absorbed.

Stir in the cheese and the cilantro, saving several leaves for garnish. Garnish and serve.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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