Saturday, March 21, 2009

Buffalo Blues

Orzo has to be one of my favorite pasta shapes. Like grains of rice, they can be toasted and turned into creamy sides reminiscent of risotto. Or a quick boil, drain and toss of vinaigrette with some seasonal veggies and you've got yourself a great pasta salad. But the best of all is an uber creamy better-than-mac-and-cheese studded with bits of sausage or meatballs. This version draws its charms from the classic buffalo wing and blue cheese combo. Perfect for a football game or a cozy winter night (and I actually made this around superbowl time).

Buffalo Blue Creamed Orzo with Turkey Meatballs

1 lb. orzo pasta

1 Tbsp butter
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup chopped crimini mushrooms
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey broth or stock, preferably low sodium or homemade
1 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce
2/3 cup mild blue cheese crumbles
1 bag triple washed baby spinach (about 5 cups)
1 1/2 cups chopped ripe plum tomato
1/2 recipe turkey meatballs (recipe below)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt heavily. Cook pasta according to package directions, undercooking by one minute so it's still a little chewy and drain.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large deep saucepan. Saute onions and mushrooms until slightly golden. Add broth and 1/2 cup milk and bring to a low simmer. In a small lidded container, shake together flour and remaining milk until flour is no longer clumping to make a slurry. Add to the sauce along with hot sauce, spinach and blue cheese. Let simmer until thick and cheese has melted. Toss in orzo, tomatoes and meatballs and serve immediately.

Turkey Meatballs

1 lb. ground turkey breast
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmeggiano reggiano
3 Tbsp chopped parsley

Mix together with your hands to combine. Form into small meatballs, about an inch in diameter. If freezing, do that now on a sheet pan lined with plastic wrap, then transfer to a plastic bag after frozen solid.

To cook, brown all sides in a pan with olive oil over medium heat.


Heather said...

yum! sounds delicious! anything with buffalo wing flavors has my attention :)

vincent said...


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Sophie said...

What a yummy dish, I like the Italian theme going on :)--and the use of ground turkey, one of my favorite meats to cook with.

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