Saturday, January 17, 2015

Orzi e Pisi al Limone

If you mention orzo in Canada most people will think you has the pasta in mind.  However, the pasta shape is named after the grain its named for, namely barley.  Another surprise is that barley (or orzo) substitutes readily for rice.  When prepared in the manner of risotto the creamy texture is familiar, while the nutty flavour and "al dente" texture of the barley makes for a delicious variation on a familiar theme.  Enjoy with a glass of sparkling wine!

Over medium heat in a small saucepan bring
4 cups chicken stock (unsalted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
to a simmer.  In a frying pan or dutch oven over medium-low heat melt
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Add the whites and pale green parts of :
3 medium leeks, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
and sautee until soft, approximately 5 minutes. Add:
1 cup pearl barley
and stir until coated with the oil and butter. Add:
1/2 cup of white wine
and stir until absorbed.  Add:
1/2 cup of warm stock
and stir until absorbed, approximately 4 minutes.  Adjust heat if too fast or slow. Repeat until you have a half cup of stock left and add:
1/2 cup of stock
1 cup of frozen or fresh peas
Stir until the liquid is mostly absorbed and then add:
2 tablespoons of whipping cream
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 to 1 cup of parmesan cheese
Blend in and serve immediately sprinkled with:
Chopped mint leaves
Parmesan cheese.

Quantities can vary, so watch the stock to ensure it does not evaporate too quickly from the side pot.  Add a little water if it is reducing too quickly.  Also, towards the end of the stock start tasting between rounds, and stop when the barley reaches the desired texture.

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