Full disclosure: I was going to write a post today about red pepper risotto, made with lots of butter, parmesan cheese, white wine, onions, and garlic, but had a last minute derailment. I realized I only had about 1/2 cup of Arborio rice on hand, which really doesn’t produce a whole lot of risotto and isn’t worth the effort for such little yield (in my opinion). I had already roasted the peppers, sauteed some onions, and had a pot of hot stock on the stove, so instead of abandoning my efforts mid-way, I rustled through my pantry to see how else I could put those ingredients to use. This is a good lesson in making sure you have all necessary ingredients before starting a recipe. Bad Lauren!
Instead, I give you Orzo with Roasted Red Peppers - this is a showstopper side dish, folks! Sometimes good things come out of kitchen mishaps. It’s creamy and luscious, dotted with bright specks of smoky red pepper. It has a subtle heat and anise aroma thanks to the crushed red pepper and fennel seed. Serve this alongside a bright green salad and garlic bread for a light supper, or with eggplant parmesan and sauteed broccoli rabe to serve to a hungrier crowd.
Have a great weekend!
Orzo with Roasted Red Peppers
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 3 cups water
- 1 lb. orzo pasta
- 1 Tablespoon organic butter
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta cooking water
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Place both red peppers on foil lined sheet and roast until wrinkled and charred, about 50-55 minutes, turning every 15 minutes or so with tongs. Remove from the oven and place cooked peppers in a glass bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit for 20 minutes.
In the meanwhile, place a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and butter. Once hot, add the garlic and onions. Saute until softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. While onions and garlic are cooking, carefully remove the red peppers from the bowl – they will be hot. The skins should easily peel off at this point; along with the skins, remove and discard the stem and seeds. Chop the remaining flesh of the pepper into a small dice and add to the saucepan along with the onions and garlic. Add salt, crushed red pepper, and fennel seeds to red pepper, garlic and onion mixture. Saute an additional 2-3 minutes, or until all ingredients are combined. Remove from heat.
In a separate pot, combine 3 cups of vegetable stock and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add a large pinch of kosher salt and 1 pound of orzo pasta. Cook according to package directions, about 6-7 minutes. Reserve approximately 1 cup of cooking liquid before draining pasta.
Add drained pasta to the other pot containing the red pepper mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula, being sure to incorporate the vegetables all throughout the pasta. Add the parmesan cheese and stir to combine. If the pasta looks dry, slowly and gradually add in some of the preserved cooking water until properly moistened. Serve hot.