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Creamy Orzo with Asparagus and Peas Recipe

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Creamy Orzo with Asparagus and Peas is a delightful springtime dish that’s both light and satisfying. The combination of fresh vegetables, creamy orzo, and fragrant herbs makes this a perfect meal for any occasion. Here’s how to make it:

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Ingredients

Produce:

  • 1 lb Asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 Lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tbsp Fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tsp Dried oregano
  • 1 cup Peas, fresh or frozen

Canned Goods:

  • 3 cups Vegetable broth

Pasta & Grains:

  • 12 oz Orzo pasta

Baking & Spices:

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Oils & Vinegars:

  • 1 tbsp Olive oil

Dairy:

  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Vegetables

  1. Asparagus and Peas:
    • If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until bright green, then drain and set aside. If using frozen peas, thaw and set aside.
  2. Leeks and Green Onions:
    • Clean the leeks thoroughly to remove any dirt. Slice the leeks and green onions thinly.

Step 2: Cook the Orzo

  1. Boil Orzo:
    • In a large pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the orzo pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of the broth, and set aside.

Step 3: Cook the Vegetables

  1. Sauté Leeks and Garlic:
    • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and cook until they begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  2. Add Asparagus and Peas:
    • Add the asparagus to the skillet and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook for another 2 minutes until everything is heated through.

Step 4: Combine and Finish

  1. Combine Orzo and Vegetables:
    • Add the cooked orzo to the skillet with the vegetables. Stir to combine.
  2. Add Butter and Cheese:
    • Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano until melted and well combined. If the mixture is too thick, add some of the reserved vegetable broth to achieve a creamy consistency.
  3. Season and Garnish:
    • Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chopped mint and dried oregano.

Step 5: Serve

  1. Plate and Garnish:
    • Serve the creamy orzo in bowls, garnished with additional Parmigiano Reggiano and a sprinkle of fresh mint if desired.

Cook Notes and Variations

Cook Notes:

  • Vegetable Broth: Using vegetable broth instead of water to cook the orzo adds a depth of flavor.
  • Fresh Herbs: Fresh mint adds a burst of freshness, but you can also use fresh parsley or basil.

Variations:

  • Protein Addition: Add grilled chicken or shrimp for extra protein.
  • Vegetable Substitutions: Substitute or add other seasonal vegetables like zucchini, spinach, or bell peppers.
  • Cheese Options: Use other cheeses like feta or goat cheese for a different flavor profile.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the orzo and vegetable mixture ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat gently on the stove, adding a splash of broth or water to loosen the sauce if needed.

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2. How do I store leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove, adding a bit of broth or water to refresh the creamy texture.

3. Can I freeze this dish?

This dish is best enjoyed fresh, but you can freeze it if needed. Store in a freezer-safe container for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

4. What can I serve with creamy orzo with asparagus and peas?

Serve this dish with a simple green salad, garlic bread, or roasted vegetables for a complete meal.

Perfect for Any Occasion

Creamy Orzo with Asparagus and Peas is perfect for a light dinner, a side dish, or even a potluck. The fresh vegetables and creamy orzo make it a crowd-pleaser that’s sure to impress.

Tips for Success

  1. Cook Orzo Al Dente: Be careful not to overcook the orzo to maintain its texture.
  2. Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best flavor.
  3. Adjust Consistency: If the orzo mixture is too thick, add more broth until you reach the desired creaminess.

Creamy Orzo with Asparagus and Peas is a delightful, easy-to-make dish that combines the freshness of spring vegetables with the comforting texture of orzo pasta. Follow this recipe for a satisfying meal that’s perfect for any occasion. Enjoy your Creamy Orzo with Asparagus and Peas and happy cooking!