Spring is on my mind. I can’t wait until the farmers market comes back, and I’m so ready to wear sandals again. While eating this, all I could think about is how perfect it would be for a picnic. It would be a fantastic alternative to all those mayonnaise-laden picnic dishes. Granted, Eric and I did not enjoy this lovely pasta while on a picnic. We each had it for lunch a few days last week. I started a new job recently which has caused me to change my lunch routine. Instead of eating at home like I normally do and letting Eric take any leftovers, I’ve had to come up with something to take with me, which means making more food for leftovers or making something solely for the purpose of weekday lunches. When I found this recipe, I knew it would be perfect for that. I’m usually not big on leftovers, but pasta is the exception. This one tasted just as great reheated as it did immediately after cooking. Since I get sick of sandwiches and wraps so easily, I’m happy to have this recipe for times when that happens.
This orzo dish is filled with lots of wonderful flavors and textures from the roasted red peppers and tomatoes. It gets a fresh, herby flavor from the parsley. I adapted the recipe to use a spicy Italian pork sausage rather than the mild turkey sausage called for, but you can use whatever kind you prefer. Eric and I liked the heat from the spicy sausage. This recipe is actually in the “(Not) Just for Kids” section of Giada’s Kitchen, and I think it would be perfect for kids when made with milder sausage and without the red pepper flakes. Either way, this dish is sure to taste fantastic. The best part, besides its ease and taste, is that this can be made and reheated in individual portions without any loss of flavor. I like that this pasta isn’t weighed down by a heavy sauce, making it perfect for a light lunch. I think it would also make a great side or entrée, depending how you serve it. Though I didn’t consider it this time, I think it would also make a fantastic stuffing for peppers. This orzo is simple, fresh and delicious, and we’ll definitely be making it again soon.
- YIELD: 6 servings
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 pound orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 links (7 ounces) spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 garlic clove, minced
2 roasted red peppers, cut in ¼-inch strips
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth and water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and sauté, breaking up any large pieces, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking an additional minute. Add the peppers, tomatoes and red pepper flakes and continue cooking 2 more minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl, then stir in sausage mixture, 1 tablespoon parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine, adding the cooking liquid as needed to loosen the pasta. Top with remaining parsley, sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.