Spring Orzo w/ Pesto, Favas and Asparagus

 

We planted fava beans in the beginning of the year and with our all of the rain we got they’ve taken off and grown over my head! They are super beautiful plants and these favas are so incredibly green, I just keep marveling at them. They are also available in lots of grocery stores and farmers markets now if you don’t happen to have a forrest of them in your front yard. This is a light pasta dish that we created to focus on the spring flavors.

{serves 4}

  • 1 pack (1 lb) whole grain orzo (or reg. orzo)
  • 8 cups chicken broth (or a mix of water and broth)
  • 1 1/2 cups fava beans (pods removed, with outer bean layer still on)
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 tbsp julienned mint
  • asparagus tips (remaining from pesto)
  • more asiago for serving

for the pesto:

  • 1/4 cup mint
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 lg garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 5 fat asparagus spears (cut off tips)
  • 2 tbsp grated asiago
  • tbsp olive oil
  1.  cook the orzo according to package instructions
  2. meanwhile remove fava beans from pods and boil for 30 seconds then move to an ice bath, let sit for 2 minutes then remove with a strainer and use your fingernails or a knife to peel outer layer off, use the same water to blanch asparagus for 1 minute, transfer them to an ice bath as well
  3. blend all pesto ingredients together in a food processor
  4. when the orzo is pretty cooled off stir the cream (if using) and pesto in
  5. serve and garnish with asparagus tips, fava beans, mint and more cheese!

 

© 2017, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Fish Out of Water

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It’s that time of year again; the tail end of the school year when buying groceries is a gamble. Am I really going to use this stock of brussels sprouts or this whole bag of spinach?¬† With the excitement/craziness of finals week it’s hard to plan more than 24 hours ahead. So it’s at times like these when I go into a kind of Chronicles of Narnia mode. Instead of climbing into a wardrobe to reach mystical lands, I stare into my pantry until I find interesting dinner items.

It is also apparently prime time for meyer lemons. My co-worker brought in a huge bag of them from her tree early last week and I’ve been puzzling over what to make with them since then. Luckily I happened to have some homemade ricotta (recipe link below) that my mom and I whipped up during Thanksgiving week and it was calling out to the lemons. I also happened to have some black garlic, which is a great thing and loves to be mashed into cheese.

If you are sardine adverse, leave off the sardines.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pinch truffle salt (or normal salt)
  • 1 tsp crushed peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 5 cloves black garlic
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 2 Meyer lemons
  • 1 cup orzo (dry)
  • truffle marcona almonds (plain old marcona almonds will work too)
  • 1 big handful arugula
  • 7 kumato tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
  • 4 sardines in tomato sauce (or not in tomato sauce)
  1. bring 2 quarts of water to a boil with a pinch of truffle salt or normal salt
  2. slice lemons thinly (remove seeds), saving the butts for the juice, slice 2 cloves of the black garlic
  3. cook the orzo 8-10 minutes or until done and drain
  4. meanwhile heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet and add the sliced black garlic and lemon, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until lemons soften
  5. remove skillet from heat and add capers, stirring to coat
  6. in a shallow bowl crush remaining black garlic cloves into the ricotta, squeeze the lemon butts into the mixture. crush pepper corns with a knife and mix into the ricotta
  7. when orzo is cooked and drained, move to a large bowl or back into the pasta pot and immediately stir in the lemon-caper-black garlic mixture
  8. then stir in the ricotta mixture, mix until fully incorporated
  9. slice arugula and add into the warm orzo mixture
  10. serve in bowls then slice tomatoes and chop marcona almonds and sprinkle over the top
  11. then top with the sardines and you have a fish out of water

© 2015, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

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