Orzo and More

All the recent comments about favorite Italian restaurants got me in the mood to cook Italian. So, I taking a quick inventory of the larder I came up with a box of orzo pasta, a link of Spanish chorizo, a little bit of pepperoni, a chunk of provolone, some day-old sour dough bread slices, a variety of typical Italian herbs and spices and a ton of fresh vegetable that were going to go bad if I didn’t do something with them.

Armed with these basics I put a pot of salted water on to boil and broke out the saute pan and olive oil. From the cutting board came some chopped sweet onions, garlic, fresh green beans, and several varieties of fresh peppers. After these ingredients began to soften up I added some kernels of fresh sweet corn, chopped olives, capers, several fresh tomatoes, green onions, yellow squash, egg-plant, and several splashes of red wine.

When the orzo was still slightly tough I drained it and spread it evenly on the bottom of a shallow roasting pan that had been coated with olive oil. Over that I layered the sautéed reduced vegetables followed with a layer of provolone cheese slices. Next I removed the chorizo from its casing and crumbled it and the pepperoni on top of the cheese. The final layer was bread crumbs I’d made by running the sour dough bread slices through the food processor. Then I topped the whole thing off with some parsley flakes, fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil.

I popped the dish into a 350 oven for 30 minutes, let it rest 5 minutes after removing from the oven and served it with a blend of shredded Italian cheeses and some crushed red pepper flakes for pizzazz.

This was an extremely flavorful dish, went over well with the family, was very economic, met the guidelines for a healthy Mediterranean diet, and as mentioned earlier, used up a lot of food that may have gone bad. I love this kind of cooking, just taking stock of what you have on hand and making it up as you go along. Hey, we don’t need no stinking recipes, man!

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