Saturday, December 31, 2011

Roasted Butternut Orzo with Walnuts and Garlicky Greens

Armed with whole grain orzo, anything is possible. Especially if you happen to have a chunk of leftover roasted butternut squash idling away on the top shelf of your refrigerator. (If you're looking for a feasible and delicious New Years resolution, I highly recommend committing yourself to sticking a halved butternut squash in the oven one night and then congratulating yourself on your good sense and culinary prowess for your next two to six meals. One of which should involve making this.)

Just under 1 1/4 cups broth
1/4 cup broken walnuts, lightly toasted
2 small to medium cloves garlic, smashed
About 3 cups sliced greens (e.g., spinach, mustard, chard, and/or fava greens)
Slosh white wine
Salt, to taste
1/2 to 1 cup flat-diced* leftover roasted butternut squash
Liberal sprinkling white pepper
Pinch or two Meyer lemon zest
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring broth to a boil in a covered pot. Add the orzo, replace the cover, and turn the heat down to low. Simmer 9-10 minutes or until al dente. If there is extra liquid left at the end, simmer with the cover off for a minute until it evaporates.

Meanwhile, heat a wide saute pan over medium heat. Add a glug of olive oil and then the garlic, pressing it into the oil until it gets light hints of gold on both sides. Stir in the greens and a pinch or two of salt and saute, stirring, until they wilt. Add a slosh of wine and saute for a moment more, then gently stir in the squash and saute until heated through. Turn off the heat, add the cooked orzo, white pepper, lemon zest, and half the cheese, and stir to combine. Spoon into preheated bowls, and top with the rest of the cheese and the walnuts before serving.

Serves 2.

*As in, kind of like dicing, only imagine the cube you'd get and cut it in half to get a flatter square or rectangle. I don't understand why there's not a proper cooking term for this, since it's the perfect cut for so many things (mango over fish or chicken, butternut squash in risottos and pastas, apples or pears for a salad). I am hereby officially coining the term flat-dicing, unless someone can think of a better one, especially something that starts with Z. Zletting. Zanziputting. You get the idea.

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