One of the many (many!) blogs I follow is Annie's Eats. I like her recipes and her photos, and I think it's pretty cool that she's a doctor and a wife and mother and still has time to made real food for her family. And her posts are in my reader first thing in the morning, so it's a nice pick-me-up at the start of the day when I'm still sleepy and cold and missing my pillow.
I saw this recipe and knew I had to made it right away. That sounds really pat, and I hate saying, "I knew I had to make it", but you see, it had the word "orzo" in the title, and I have a small obsession with orzo. I'll dedicate a post to it sometime, but it has a lot to do with my grandmother and memories from my early childhood.
This is really good, and doesn't take long at all to come together. I really loved the creaminess of the orzo and the way everything complimented everything else on the plate. Definitely a keeper in this house.
Herb-Rubbed Chicken & Creamy Orzo
(Adapted from Annie's Eats)
1 lb. box orzo pasta
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flattened slightly
Salt & pepper
Herbes de Provence
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 c. frozen broccoli florets
1/3 c. heavy cream
Grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook your orzo according to package directions. Keep tasting to avoid overcooking the pasta! Reserve about 1/2 c. of the pasta water, and drain the pasta. Be careful not to splash yourself, a la Frazzoo. Don't rinse the pasta, just let it hang out a bit.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Season evenly with Herbes de Provence (both sides, just in case). In a large skillet (really, use a large one, because my biggest one was crowded!) drizzle some olive oil and heat over medium-high heat, until sizzling. Add the chicken to the skillet, and cook 3-5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the breast pieces. Reduce heat and add the shallot. Saute for 2 minutes, and add the garlic. Saute until fragrent, 1-2 minutes.
Add diced tomatoes with juices and deglaze the bottom of the pan. Bring pan to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add frozen broccoli and warm through. Stir in the cooked pasta, followed by heavy cream and top with cheese, according to your cheese preferences. Mix well and test for seasonings. Add more and and pepper if necessary. If sauce needs thinning, add pasta water and mix well. Serve immediately.
- Sometimes when I see "shallot" I use an onion instead. This time, I'm glad I stuck with the shallot. It adds a nice "something" without overpowering like an onion would.
- If you overcook the orzo, it won't be as creamy as you need it to be. You really need to cook it for 8 to 9 minutes to get it to the right texture. Taste as you go, and when it's no long crunchy in the middle, you're good.
- Herbes de Provence can be hard to find and depending on the area you're in, it can also be expensive. Use thyme if you can't find it/can't afford it. You can also find a cheat sheet for a blend of your own to create if you really like. Just remember: Google is your friend.
- I think basil would be a wonderful addition to this. Instead of seasoning with herbes de Provence, chiffonade some fresh basil or add a few teaspoons to the diced tomatoes.