Meatless Monday: One-Pot Mediterranean Orzo Pasta

Let’s talk about orzo for a few minutes. About its versatility and how underappreciated it is among the pasta-eating diaspora.

Orzo falls into the class of small pastas, usually stacked on the top shelf at the grocery store with the pastina and ditalini. But, orzo is more than just a soup pasta. It’s adeptly baked as a pasta pie or casserole or tossed in a salad. It’s structure like a rice makes it a suitable substitute, perfect for a pilaf, or as my favorite side, the orzotto.

Add main dish pasta to the mix.

Orzo is a traditional Italian pasta, but you will find it appear in Greek cuisine. In this recipe from The Kitchn, it’s the central ingredient that holds the dish together.

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WHAT WORKED: The orzo, right?

WHAT DIDN’T: So, rather than buying everything canned, I grabbed the artichokes, olives and tomatoes from my grocery store Mediterranean bar. By the time I cooked this, the flavors had crossed over one another and just tasted like salty brine. I might do that differently next time.

EASE OF PREPARATION: Easy to medium.

BEST FOR: A weeknight dinner when you need to get something together quickly.

SERVE WITH: A dry white wine or hard cider.

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One-Pot Mediterranean Orzo Pasta
Adapted from The Kitchn

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo
  • 1 qt. vegetable broth
  • 8 oz. feta cheese, plus additional for serving
  • 1 cup marinated artichokes, drained
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried or roasted tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Heat olive oil over medium-high in a Dutch oven. When it shimmers, add the onion and saute 5 minutes or until it starts to soften. Add the garlic and orzo, and stir to combine. Let the orzo toast a little bit, cooking 3 minutes and stirring to not burn the pasta.

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Add the broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and keep at a bare simmer. Cook until the broth is thickened and the pasta is al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes.

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Place the artichokes and olives in a food processor and pulse intermittently for 15 to 30 seconds until everything is roughly chopped.

Add the feta, artichokes and olives, and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Adjust flavors with salt and pepper, and serve hot with more feta on the side.

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