Monday, July 21, 2008

Orzo with Zucchini

I'm almost ashamed to post this recipe as I can't believe it's taken me this long to get around to making my first post here! I have been faithfully reading everyone else's posts and enjoying the recipes. Great stuff—thank you.

As we all know, 'tis the season to eat zucchini. I don't know about you, but I don't find very many recipes that include zucchini that make me go WOW. Just last night, I was watching Iron Chef America and one of the judges commented that he was not sure how the chefs were going to showcase zucchini because it really doesn't have that much flavor. Personally, I agree. I find it watery and bland. But it's good for you and there's always plenty of it—and then some—at this time of year.

A couple of months ago, my book club read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegatable, Miracle. While I didn't love the book, I did enjoy some of Kingsolver's recipes, including the following for Orzo with Zucchini. I've made a few changes from the original (most notably, I've upped the cheese content significantly). Here's what's great about this recipe:
  • It uses a TON of zucchini.
  • It's very forgiving.
  • It tastes good hot, warm, or at room temperature.
  • It's really easy.
  • It can be a main course or a side dish.
  • It's kid-friendly.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Orzo with Zucchini
1/2 lb. orzo
3 T. or so olive oil
a lot of zucchini: five or six small ones, two or three large ones, or even more
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 c. or so grated/shredded cheese of your choice (the original recipe calls for parmesan, but I've used goat cheese, parmesan, asiago, or feta)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook orzo according to package directions.
2. Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater. Squeeze out excess water.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Saute grated zucchini and onion over medium heat until well-cooked and beginning to brown.
4. Combine cooked orzo with cooked zucchini and onions. Stir in cheese.

That's it! Told you it was easy. Enjoy.


Katie said...

Glad to see you posting! That's a great recipe. I think the kids would like it. They seem to object to the texture of zucchini on its own, but eat it if it's cooked into things. I read Kingsolver's book, but I took it out from the library so don't have the recipes on hand. I'm remembering the part in her book about how in her neighborhood, the only time people lock doors is during zucchini season. Otherwise, people enter your house and leave you even more zucchini!

What A Card said...

Wow, I had forgotten there were some recipes in the book that sounded good. Like Katie, I took it out of the library, so I'll have to check around online!

Thanks for the post...we are starting to get a bit buried in squash :)

Katie said...

I tried a version of this tonight, and it came out great. I just threw it together with stuff we had, and didn't have orzo, but combined some elbows and ditalini instead. I tried to pass it off to the kids as Mac n Cheese, but my oldest caught on. Anyway, three of the four of us (and my brother, who ate the leftovers) really liked it, although I did find I had to be kind of heavy handed with the salt and pepper. It used up 4 huge zucchinis! We're making progress.

What A Card said...

Hey Snick, I tried this the other day and we were very happy with the results. Like Katie, we had to use what we had on hand, which in our case was alphabet letter pasta and yellow squash. Turned out of my husband's favorites! Thanks!