Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Or mushrooms with orzo and lentils. Probably not lentils with orzo and mushrooms though, the proportions don't support that statement. I made this down at Ali and Aviva's yesterday and those ingrates made me watch The Bachelor season finale with them. Some thank you, ladies. Anyway, this makes a simple, delicious and (more or less) healthy weekday dinner. It's perfect with just some dark green veggies or pinheads mimicking social interactions on the side. Or both!Mince up one small onion let it get all softened and aromatic in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat (about 5 minutes sauté time). Slice up a package of cremini mushrooms. Add in 1 tablespoon butter to your onions in the pan (you really don't have to add so much if you want to keep it lighter, just be sure to keep an eye on things so they don't burn) and add your sliced mushrooms. Let them get golden brown (about 8-10 minutes) with the onions. Measure out about 1 cup of orzo pasta, or any other small pasta. Large grain israeli couscous is another good option too. Sauté your orzo with the mushrooms and onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic (if you were virtuous before you might be regretting it right about now, so go ahead and add a little more oil/butter to make it easier on yourself) until the pasta has some nice golden brown toasty bits on it, about 2 - 3 minutes. Clear a little space in the center of the hot pan and add in a pinch of cumin and chile powder or any other spices that catch your fancy. Now just scoop it all out and set it aside for a second because the lentils need a head start. Get you 1/2 cup of lentils (these are my usual small French green lentils but you can use any kind you like). Add these to your same cooking pan/pot whatever you had going before (minimizing dishes whenever possible, right?) with 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock. I happened to have some chicken stock going right next to this operation, so I just ladled some in, very convenient. Unless you are using packaged stock, add 1 teaspoon salt and let your lentils cook until softened--mine took about 15 minutes. Then return your delicous orzo-mushroom mixture to the stock and lentils, and let cook until the orzo is soft, the lentils are edible and the stock is all pretty much absorbed (about another 10 minutes). You can mix in all kinds of extras to this as it finishes cooking; I tossed in a diced half a tomato that I spied languishing in Ali's fridge (which added nothing for better or worse), but you could try tamari, minced parsley or other fresh herbs, white wine, nationally televised desperation, whatever you like really.