Saturday, March 21, 2009
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.
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.