Whole Wheat Orzo Risotto with Shrimp and Artichoke Hearts (low-fat)

Inspired by Ellie Krieger’s Herbed Salmon and Orzo Casserole with Feta. The way the orzo is cooked in minimal liquid, adds a yummy, creaminess.

Ingredients

  • 1 (12oz) package frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups water or broth (for orzo)
  • 1/4 cup water (for artichokes)
  • 1 pound large raw shrimp (21-30 count)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups greens (kale, Swiss chard, spinach)
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Spices – Whatever you like – my preference for this dish is lemon pepper, celery salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided), more for drizzling 
  • Parmesan or feta cheese for serving

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Place fresh or frozen pieces of shrimp in a single layer. Sprinkle each piece with spices of choice.
  3. Cook for a minute or two and then flip the shrimp. Cook on the second side until pink and no longer translucent. Remove to a plate.
  4. To the skillet add orzo, water/broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer; cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and stir; continue to cook 3 more minutes or until tender and all liquid is absorbed. If the orzo is still firm, add a bit more water.
  6. Turn off heat, squeeze some lemon juice on top and taste for salt.
  7. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, and artichoke hearts. Allow artichokes to brown slightly.
  8. Add 1/4 cup water and cover for a few minutes until artichokes are tender.
  9. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and greens, and toss until the greens are wilted. Remove from heat.
  10. To the pot with orzo, add the artichokes, greens, and shrimp. Sprinkle with feta or parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Orzo with Everything

This is a no-recipe. Add as much or little of these as you like. For ideas of other ingredients to add, see Ina Garten’s wonderful recipe for Orzo with Roasted Vegetables.

Ingredients

  • Half a package of orzo
  • Dash of cayenne or pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Pine nuts, pan toasted in a bit of butter (until butter and pine nuts are browned)
  • Golden raisins, chopped into pieces
  • Garbanzo beans (start with 1/2 cup)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • Sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • Black olives, chopped
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
    Dressing:
  • Lemon juice to taste (start with 2 tablespoons)
  • Olive oil to taste (start with 4 tablespoons)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (start with 1 teaspoon salt)

Directions

  1. Cook orzo according to package instructions. Drain and cool.
  2. Toss the orzo with dressing and taste to adjust.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss well. Add more lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper as needed.

Pasta with Cauliflower, Bacon & Breadcrumbs

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.

The unique way the pasta is cooked lends a special quality to this delicious dish. There are a few steps involved, but it’s very worth the effort.

Ingredients

  • 3 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large head cauliflower (3 pounds), cored and cut into 1-inch florets
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 pound campanelle pasta (I like Rigatone)
  • 5.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I skip this)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

BACON PANKO TOPPING: Cook bacon in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. (I remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat). Add panko and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until panko is well browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer Panko mixture to bowl and set aside. Wipe out the skillet.

CAULIFLOWER: Heat 5 teaspoons oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add cauliflower and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is crisp-tender and browned in spots, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm. (I’ve had mixed results cooking the cauliflower this way, probably because I don’t have a 12-inch skillet. I prefer to toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt and roast in a 450 degree oven until browned, stirring half way through, approximately 20 minutes.

PASTA: Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened, 4 to 7 minutes. Increase heat to high, add pasta, broth, and wine, and bring to simmer. Cook pasta, stirring frequently, until most of liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove pot from heat; stir in parsley, lemon juice, and cauliflower; and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle with bread crumb topping, or leave it in a bowl to serve separately.


Mrs. Schultz’s Pesto Sauce (lower-fat)

This recipe is lower in fat than most traditional recipes as it uses water, rather than oil, to achieve the creamy consistency. The difference in flavor and texture is unnoticeable.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 2/3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Lightly toast pine nuts (or walnuts).
  2. In a food processor, chop the basil.
  3. Add the nuts, garlic, oil, salt, pepper, and Parmesan. If too thick, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Taste for salt and adjust.