Bacon Blue Cheese OrzoPosted: 5 May 2011
I asked Senor the other day what his favorite meal is. Or rather, what’s his favorite thing that I feed him. He thought about it for a long time and decided, it wasn’t really a question he could answer so simply. There were a lot of factors to consider. Is it summer or winter? Do I want a quick dinner that we can eat often? Or a special meal that takes hours of preparation? To sum up, he gave me a pretty long list. I take it as a good sign that he enjoys my cooking so much, however it does make it harder to surprise him with his ‘favorite dinner’ when I feel like being nice.
Luckily, I know him pretty well. I can tell you that for his birthday, we’ll definitely have steaks off the grill since it’s in August and grilled steaks and corn with salad and garlic bread is a perfect summer celebratory meal. I also know that anything he expresses delight in is on his ‘favorites’ list. The good news is, he’s pretty easy to please food-wise and I think I do a decent job of mixing up our dinner menu so that we never get tired of eating the same things over and over again. So in general, if I have a few of his favorite ingredients and I’m making something we haven’t had for at least two weeks, he’s probably going to be pretty psyched.
Last night I wanted to make him a nice dinner. He finished his semester and got better grades than he’d thought he would which is excellent. He also scrubbed the kitchen and the bathroom, did the laundry, bought bread and filled my gas tank…..all without me asking. Feel free to be jealous. 🙂 So a nice dinner was definitely in order.
Last night was also the start of my summer slow-pitch league which meant that it would have to be a quick and easy dinner that would require very little work on my part. Pasta is the easy, obvious choice here.
I took this recipe and tweaked it to make it faster and more savory. And I used Senor’s favorite pasta, Orzo. This dinner has five ingredients. 5. That is all. You don’t need anything else. Orzo, tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese and green onions. The end. So simple. So delicious. Senor devoured his bowl. How could it not it had some of his favorite things.
First, orzo. It’s pasta that looks like giant rice. It’s easy to cook and easy to spoon into your mouth. Perfect right? I love whole wheat orzo and eat it almost daily. One serving of 195 calories has 7 grams of fiber. And it doesn’t taste bad like most whole wheat pasta. Sadly we are out of the whole wheat variety so I used the regular kind. It’s still delicious, just less fiber-ific.
Blue cheese. I went to SuperTarget last Saturday around 9:30 am. What I encountered was like a new dimension. At that hour, all of the shelves are full. And the clearance food is still hanging around. Yes. Clearance food. Like 2.5lb bags of blue cheese crumbles for $3.06. Target, to my knowledge, doesn’t usually sell 2.5lb bags of cheese. They leave that sort of thing to Costco. But there, wedged in the cheese display were giant bags of crumbled blue cheese. Originally $10, now $3. I did what any self-respecting food blogger would do. I bought two bags. We now have 5lbs of blue cheese.
Senor was pretty excited about the 5lbs of cheese and given his love of orzo, I realized our nice, speedy dinner was right in front of me. Orzo tossed with roasted tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese and green onion.
Bacon Blue Cheese Orzo
1 cup dry Orzo
4 slices bacon
1 cup blue cheese crumbles
4 green onion stalks, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes
Fry your bacon over medium-high heat in a large skillet. At the same time, bring 1 cup of orzo to a boil and cook until soft but not mushy. Drain and set aside.
Chop the bacon into small pieces.
Remove the cooked bacon to a paper-lined plate. Retain the bacon fat in your pan! Add the pint of tomatoes to the bacon fat.
Make sure to stir them occasionally and don’t be concerned if they start splitting and spitting in the hot pan. They’re supposed to do that.
Cook the tomatoes until the skin starts to wrinkle and there are spots of char appearing on their skins.
Add the orzo, tossing carefully. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan so nothing sticks. You want the orzo to be coated in the bacon fat and tomato juices.
Once well-coated, turn off the heat. Add the blue cheese, green onions and bacon to your skillet and mix using a spatula. Make sure everything is well incorporated.
Serve immediately topped with a few extra crumbles of cheese and onion and, if you choose, some garlic bread.