Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Orzo with Tomatoes and Chicken Sausages

This is hands down one of the best meals I have made this summer. It is a new favorite in our house. The first night I made it, I gave Greg a good-sized portion and figured he could take some of the leftovers in the pan for lunch the next day. Well, he liked the dinner so much that he kept going back for more until it was all gone. No leftovers, no pictures for me to take, no problem - I just made it again the following evening. I made sure to double the recipe so there would be enough, and I am sharing the double recipe on this post. This meal is so incredibly easy to make. The orzo cooks with the spices and tomatoes and it soaks up all of the flavor. So yummy! The orzo with tomatoes and chicken sausages takes less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish. I will be making it again very soon - we did pick 9 pounds of tomatoes out of our garden the other day. And I know this because Greg weighed them after picking!

Oh, and in case you are wondering, Orzo is a very small pasta that is shaped like rice. I thought it was a rice (even after eating it) until my mother proved me wrong! Anyways, this meal is savory, filling, and healthy. Leave out the sausages to make it vegetarian - it will still be very flavorful. Enjoy!

Recipe for Orzo with Tomatoes and Chicken Sausages 

2 mild italian chicken sausage links, sliced thin and then cut into half or quartered (I quartered them)
4 cups of water
2 cups of Orzo
1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp. of dried onion flakes
3 - 4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. of kosher salt
1 tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes
A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
30 - 40 (about 1.5 pounds) cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes or a mixture of both, cut in half
2 1/2 Tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
5 - 6 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1/4 cup of grated Asiago cheese, Parmesan cheese or Romano Cheese

Put the cut chicken sausages in a pan and cook on the stovetop according to the package directions. Remove from heat and set aside.

Put the water and Orzo into a very large saucepan and let sit for about 5 minutes or so, while you chop the tomatoes and mince the garlic.

Add the onion flakes, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, tomatoes and 2 Tbsp. of olive oil to the pan with the Orzo. Set the pan over medium high heat and allow it to come to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, stirring frequently, while it cooks for 15 - 17 minutes. Then add in the chicken sausages to the pan and stir. Cook for another minute or two. Remove from heat and drizzle the remaining 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil over the entire dish. Divide amongst serving dishes and top each with some torn basil leaves, grated cheese and black pepper.

***Leave the chicken sausages out to make this meal vegetarian.***

Recipe serves 6. Approximately 325 calories per serving. 

Recipe Adapted from Smitten Kitchen