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Orzo with Spinach, Blue Cheese and Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bunch spinach
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 head green garlic , finely chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 ounces blue cheese , crumbled
  • 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Real Salt , as needed

Instructions

  • Bring about a quart of well-salted water to a boil, stir in the orzo and let the water return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the orzo pasta is cooked with just a slight resistance to your tooth. Drain the orzo, put it in a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil.
  • While the orzo is cooking, prepare the spinach. Wash it several times to make sure there is no gritty dirt remaining. Remove and discard the stems. Chop the leaves into 1-inch size pieces.
  • In a large skillet, heat the grapeseed oil with the green garlic until the garlic turns to golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the spinach and sprinkle with salt.
  • Stir and toss until the spinach has wilted, then add the cooked orzo to the pan, along with the lemon zest. Stir in the blue cheese and pumpkin seeds, continuing to stir until the orzo is heated through and the cheese melts. Season with a good pinch of red pepper flakes, taste for salt, seasoning with more if you think it is needed. Serve immediately, or allow to cool and serve in 20 minutes.

Notes

  • Use plain orzo for a pretty contrast of green and white, or use tri-color orzo for a jazzy kaleidoscopic dish.
  • Extra virgin olive oil for flavor, grapeseed oil for high-heat cooking.
  • Use baby spinach instead of chopped larger leaves.
  • Substitute feta or goat cheese for the blue cheese if that’s what you have on hand. Or skip the cheese altogether if you or your guests are not eating dairy.
  • Chopped parsley or a sprinkling of fresh (or dried) herbs such as oregano or marjoram are a nice addition.