This garden risotto developed from an abundant supply of tomatoes from my plant, and zucchinis from a friend’s. There are a couple unique twists from the standard risotto. First it uses orzo noodles instead of rice, and second instead of the starch absorbing wine/broth a tomato sauce/broth is used.
The result is a filling nutrient packed dinner or side dish. In this meal you have healthy heart nutrients from the tomato, garlic and olive oil, and carbs from the orzo. The one nutrient lacking in this meal is a complete protein, however in one serving you can get about 16g which is perfect amount for one meal. You just have to make it a complete protein by eating a legume or nut sometime throughout the day. The foundation of the recipe is from Vegan Italiano by Donna Klein.
8 small to medium sized tomatoes
2 large zucchini
1 (12 ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, well drained
1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 pound orzo
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves minced
2 1/2 cups veggie broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
In large pot bring water for orzo to a boil. Using a knife blade for your food processor, process tomatoes, bell peppers, and vinegar until pureed. Set aside.
Add orzo to boiling water and cook half the time recommended on the package (approx 5 minutes, pasta should still be firm in middle). Drain and then rinse orzo under cold water, and rinse again. Return to pot and stir with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil.
In large, deep non stick skillet, heat remaining oil over med-high heat. Add garlic and zucchini and saute until zucchini for approx 3 minutes, until zucchini is slightly softened and browned. Do not over cook, or cook fully.
Add 1 1/2 cups of broth, oregano, salt and pepper, let come to a boil Add reserved orzo and stir to coat, let come to brisk simmer. Add remaining broth and cook, stirring constantly until all liquid has been absorbed about 4 minutes. Add the reserved tomato mixture and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is creamy but not soupy, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.
My fiance and I both gave this meal a 8.5/10. Improvements for the future would be to add a protein like tofu, shrimp or chicken for him. If you do not care about the meal being vegan you can also add Parmesan cheese on top for flavor.
We listened to the new Decemberists album, The King is Dead. A little slower, and less dramatic then their last albums but perfect cd for cooking or relaxing too. This album gets better after the second listen since the music is so complex with all that talent in one band.