Monday, January 21, 2008

Orzo pasta: is it pasta or rice?

I was out and about all day today and really had no plans to cook, but when I got home from work around 8, I thought, "why not?" I already had everything to make the below dish and I didn't really feel like leftovers, even though this is my proclaimed "leftover week".

Grilled Skirt Steak and Orzo with the Works

2 lbs skirt steak
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil, divided into two parts
coarse black pepper
kosher salt
1/2 pound orzo pasta
half of a red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fennel bulb, quartered, cored and thinly sliced **I omitted this because I couldn't find it
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 c chicken broth or stock
1 pint grape tomatoes
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese **I used grated Parmesan

Combine 2 tbsp of the oil with the vinegar and coat steak with it. Sprinkle pepper on steak and let meat marinate in a non-reactive dish for 5-10 minutes or until ready to cook. Cook orzo as directed or in salted boiling water for twelve minutes and drain. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining oil and add onions, garlic, fennel, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, or until vegetables are tender, about five minutes. Season steak with kosher salt and grill in a grill pan or on outdoor grill for three to four minutes on each side. Remove steak and let it rest for five minutes. Add chicken broth and tomatoes to the vegetables, bring to a bubble and cook for two minutes or until tomatoes begin to burst. Add cooked orzo, basil, parsley and cheese and stir to combine. Serve meat alongside the orzo.

What I liked about this dish: Considering that it is on the gourmet side, not too too hard to make.
What I disliked about this dish: I think that the tomatoes should have been chopped up and if I make this again, that is exactly what I will do.
Cool kitchen gadgets used: I used my cast iron grill pan for the first time ever. I think the balsamic vinegar seasoned it nicely.
Tastiness factor: This was very, very good. I really liked the orzo pasta and will probably make it as a side dish again in the future. Almost like a rice with the seasonings! Very tasty. Not sure if the fennel would have added anything to it, but I enjoyed it as I cooked it very much.


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