As said on one of my previous posts I like food and cooking. I don’t like to waste and throw away left overs. Last week we cleaned up the kitchen and we found lots of packages with food. All half or 3/4 used. I grabbed everything together and made a lunch menu out of all the left overs. Also in the fridge same story: here’s 1 carrot, there is 1/2 bag of peas, some bacon etc. Instead of throwing it in the trash can, we went online and looked up some very nice quick recipes of what you can make of it.
The left overs from a couple of days gave me: 1 carrot, some bacon, peas, 1/4 pack of Risoni (a.k.a. Orzo), some butter milk and some Parmasan. So let’s make some Risoni with bacon and parmasan for lunch. 🙂 I run into this recipe. (See below). It is a very simple recipe and you can change or vary with whatever you have left over. The original recipe was with chicken but I swapped it for the bacon.
Risoni with Bacon and Parmasan
Risoni were originally created as a substitute for the lack of rice on Italian tables. It cooks faster because they are smaller, and when made in a creamy based sauce (but with no cream!), the starch actually acts as a thickening agent and it is, as though it is supposed to be, part of the sauce, rather than a compromise for the convenience of being a one pot meal.
You can make it real quick, about 15 to 20 min. The way it is cooked is that you can keep chopping while other stuff is in the pan.
This is what you need
Cooking time: This is what you need to find in your left overs to make this recipe. (I always have the basics in house, garlic, onion, flour, and some other stuff)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup onion, diced
- ¾ cup carrot, diced
- ¾ cup red bell pepper (capsicum), diced
- 2 cups roughly chopped spinach (lightly packed)
- ¼ cup frozen peas
- 7oz / 200g chicken thigh or breast, cut into bite size pieces or some meat, bacon, ham, whatever
- 1 cup orzo / risoni
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1½ cups milk
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (stock)
- ¾ cup parmesan (grated)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Boiled water
Before you start cooking, I highly recommend that you use a NON STICK pan…. I did not.
Place the oil and mince the garlic straight into a large non stick pan that has a lid. Make sure the pan is reasonably deep – around 5cm / 2.5″ or more. Otherwise, use a large pot.
Place pan on high heat. Stir the garlic to infuse the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and carrot and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
Add the bacon and cook until the bacon is nearly done – about 3 to 4 minutes.
Cook the bacon, carrot and garlic. (p.s: use a non-stick pan)
Add the milk, stock, orzo (risoni) and flour, put the lid on, then bring to boil, then turn down to medium.
Cook at rapid simmer, stirring once or twice, for 5 minutes. Keep the boiled water nearby to add in case the liquid evaporates too quickly – this will depend on the size of pan you used, strength of heat you are using etc. If you are not using a non stick pan then you will need to stir more than one or twice, just to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. (but it will, no matter what you do).
Add veggie stock, some milk and some dried Italian herbs.
After 5 minutes there should still be a bit of liquid and the risoni should be soft on the outside but still firm on the inside. There needs to be enough liquid to cook for another couple of minutes – if you are concerned, add a bit more water (don’t worry if you add a little too much, it will reduce quickly at the end).
Add the peas, spinach and parmesan, stir to mix through then put lid back on for another minute.
Some good old Parmasan.
Remove lid, adjust seasoning to taste and check to ensure the orzo is cooked. It should be a risotto consistency, not too saucy, but not dry like a pilaf.
If you added too much water, leave it on the stove for another 30 seconds to a minute and keep stirring – it will cook out pretty quickly.
Serve immediately and enjoy.
E voila…Ready 🙂