Orzo! I love this rice-shaped pasta and jumped at the opportunity to make Orzo Paella when I saw the recipe on Haalo’s blog, Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once. Orzo Paella? Never heard of it before. Gotta try it, I thought to myself. Try it I did. And did I like it? Did everyone else at home like it? Yup. Like it we did.
One of the things I liked about this recipe was that it’s quick and easy to make. The ingredients are very simple. I didn’t have to go to Timbuktu in search of anything special or exotic. I had almost all the ingredients right there in my kitchen. The only ingredient I didn’t have was the chorizo. I could only get it in a store a couple of blocks away. But I was feeling too lazy to walk down there. So I called another store closer to me (about a block away) and had them deliver Italian sausage since they didn’t carry chorizos.
Haalo suggests topping the orzo paella with shards of manchego or grated Mizithra/Myzithra. I didn’t have that either, so good ole Parmesan cheese substituted. I’ve never tasted Manchego or Mizithra cheese. I’ll have to go buy some one of these days because I’ll definitely make Orzo Paella again. Thanks, Haalo!
Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once
2 red onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 red capsicum (bell pepper), sliced thickly
4 skinless chicken thighs, sliced thickly
1 chorizo, diced
chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
Heat a little oil and butter in a large pan and saute the chicken in batches until browned. Set to one side and in the same pan, saute the onions and garlic until softened.
Add the diced chorizo and cook until golden. Add the sliced capsicum and continue to saute for 5 minutes before adding the tomatoes, peas and chicken. Stir through and add enough water or stock to just cover the mixture. Simmer until reduced.
The orzo will only take about 5 minutes to cook so make sure that this chicken mixture is cooked and seasoned to your liking.
Over a very low flame, stir in the orzo and top with enough water to just cover the mixture. Place a lid on the pot and let it cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes.
After this, stir the mixture and taste — check that the orzo is cooked through and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve at once. Top with shards of manchego or grated Mizithra/Myzithra.
Oh! The past couple of days have been extremely cold. This past Saturday was the coldest day so far. Freezing.
I wanted something hot. Something to warm me up. Then I remember a simple soup recipe from Haalo (Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once). I’d saved it a long time ago. It was time to pull it out. I liked that the recipe was simple. I like simple recipes. I like no fuss recipes. This was my kind of recipe.
It called for fresh peas. I bought frozen peas, which worked fine. The recipe also called for capsicum. Capsicum? What was that? I had no idea. After looking it up, I found that that it’s a common name in Australia and Britain for pepper. In North America and Canada, it is commonly known as Bell Pepper ( In other countries it’s also known as Cayene Pepper, African Chillies, Tabsco Peppers, Pimiento and more.). Ahhh! Now I understood. One Red Bell Pepper coming up. I love to learn something new from my fellow bloggers.
I prepared my soup. It tasted delicious! I offered some to my mom. At first she was hesitant and then she said, "yes."
She finished one bowl and then asked, "Is there any more soup?"
LOL! Yup! My soup tasted Mmm, Mmm good. We were both warmed up by this simple, delicious Vegatable Soup with Orzo.
Even one of my dogs got in on the action when I left a few drops in the bowl. I turned around for just a second and she reached up on her hind legs and pulled the bowl down to the ground from the table. She quickly cleaned it out with her long tongue. Yup! I’ll say that even the dog enjoyed the soup, too.
Thanks Haalo for this recipe!
Little bit of soup left in the bowl, before the dog got to it. *sigh*
Vegetable Soup with Orzo
Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once
1 large red onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 small red capsicum, finely diced
1 large stalk of celery, finely diced
1 zucchini, finely diced
1 large tomato, diced finely
salt and freshly ground white pepper
handful of orzo, per person
I’ve made a very simple vegetable soup and the ingredients should only be used as a guide – feel free to substitute whatever you have on hand.
Place a little olive oil and butter into a saucepan over a medium heat – when butter has melted add the onion, carrot, celery and red capsicum and cook slowly until the vegetables start to soften (you may need to turn the heat down to ensure they don’t colour).
Now add the zucchini and cook until it has started to soften and then tip in the tomato. Wait until the tomato starts to break down before adding the orzo followed by enough boiling water (or stock if so desired) to cover the vegetables by about 2cm/1inch.
Turn the heat up to maintain a boiling temperature and cook for about 5 minutes. Remember to keep stirring so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add the fresh peas and then taste and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
Turn off the heat and cover and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes – during this time the pasta will finish cooking by absorbing the cooking stock but won’t become mushy.
Before serving add a little more stock if it looks a little dry and bring it back to temperature.