The word “orzo” in italian means “barley”. Orzo pasta (pasta shaped like rice or grain) is very versatile. It can be boiled, baked, used as a filler in casseroles or when making stuffed peppers. Also, great in soups. The best orzo is made of durum semolina flour and is very popular in Italy, Greece and other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Countries. I like this version of orzo pasta because it is very savory and not very heavy. Add as much spinach as you can and by all means… it has to be fresh! Serve alone or as a side dish. Orzo with Spinach is also great as a cold salad. If you are going to serve it as a salad, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil before serving so that it looks shiny and fresh.
Orzo with Spinach
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oi
3 ounces of thinly sliced pancetta chopped
1/2 cup of yellow or white onions cubed
1/3 cup red bell pepper finely cubed
2 fresh garlic cloves minced
6 cups of fresh spinach (lightly packed)
2 tbsp cold butter
2 tbsp dry white wine
2 tsp fine sea salt
pepper to taste
drizzle of white truffle oil
1 pound of orzo
fresh parmesan cheese
1. In a deep large skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil in medium. Add pancetta and saute for about 5 minutes until pieces begin to cook. You don’t want pancetta to be crispy or burned. Stir occasionally.
2. Add onions and red peppers and saute for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and butter and continue to saute for about 1 minute. Add white wine to deglaze pan. Immediately add spinach and stir until it has wilted.
3. Meanwhile, in a med sauce pan, bring about 6 cups of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook orzo according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and add to spinach mixture and saute for a few minutes. Add drizzle of white truffle oil, salt and pepper to taste. Add freshly grated parmesan cheese once you serve.