Sunday, August 2, 2009

Creamy Orzo served with Herb-Rubbed Grilled Chicken

I was confused by Giada's recipe, from Smells Like Home, so I made it a little differently. For some reason, I thought that the chicken was cooked in the same pan as the orzo. Next time, I'll do it right! Also, it calls for shallots, but I have no idea what those are and couldn't find them in the store anyway, so I omitted those. I used half of the orzo that it calls for, and I didn't have a garlic clove or fresh parmesan, so I did my best without those (garlic powder and mozzarella/canned parmesan seemed to work just fine).

1 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, juices drained
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
reserved pasta water
2 tsp herbes de provence
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2″

Bring a heavy large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 10-11 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Season pounded chicken on both sides with herbes de provence (1 tsp per breast), salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat and pre-heat the grill to medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Put chicken on grill, turning after 4-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cream and peas*. Add the orzo and toss to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the Parmesan to the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Stir the pasta mixture until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy consistency. Season the orzo generously with salt and pepper, and serve.

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6-8

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