Since I started this blog, I wanted to see how long it would take me to make dinner last night. The weather was perfect for dining outside and for firing up the barbeque. At 6 o’clock I started marinating some peeled, deveined shirmp in my favorite lemon, olive oil, garlic, kosher salt and pepper marinade. Instead of adding several herbs, I just used rosemary and an extra clove of garlic. While that was marinating, I boiled some water for the orzo side dish. I sometimes serve this as a main course.
Boiling water, check. Marinating shrimp, check. Begin prepping the orzo side dish. By the time the orzo was finished cooking, I had made the dressing for it, opened up a can of cannellini beans and crumbled the goat cheese. Instead of a green salad, I halved a quart of grape tomatoes, tossed them with toasted pine nuts, good olive oil, balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, pepper and chopped basil. Everything was done in 45 minutes. The shrimp took less than 10 minutes on the grill and we were eating al fresco by 7 pm.
Orzo with Cannellini Beans, Goat Cheese and Oregano
(adapted from June 2008 Bon Appetit)
* The orignial recipe called for garbanzo beans, but after trying it with cannellini beans, we all decided this version is better!
1 1/2 cups orzo (about 9 oz)
1/4 cup olive oil ( I have a couple of different types of olive oil, since this is like a dressing, I use a fruitier, more expensive olive oil than one I would cook with)
3 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 15 oz can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbl. chopped fresh oregano
1 5-oz. log of soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
Cook orzo in boiling, salted water until just tender, stirring occasionally. Drain orzo.
Whisk olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and garlic in a large serving bowl. Add drained beans, cooked orzo and chopped fresh oregano; toss salad to coat. season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Gently stir in crumbled goat cheese. Serve orzo salad warm or at room temperature. Serves 4-6
Note about herbs. If you buy fresh herbs in the grocery store, they’re pretty expensive. Why not grow your own? There cheap enough and they thrive in less than ideal conditions. If you don’t have room for a large garden, tuck some in among your planters, or on the patio. There really is no substitute for fresh herbs and once you start using them all the time, you’ll never use dried herbs again.