It seems like Jo and I went bananas with saffron this weekend! I made this surprisingly delicious meal with vegetables and spices served over minty orzo! I say surprisingly because I’ve never used mint with a pasta, with no other spices, and then the combo of spices with saffron cooked in the veg was simply out of this world!! I have to admit, I ate 2.5 servings in one blow! I had my first bowl with a glass of Eroica Riesling, and then I thought..mmm..I want a bit more, so I made another bowl. Then I couldn’t help myself to a small 3rd helping!! Ah!! I guess it could be worse, stuffing myself on veg isn’t as bad as, say, eating an entire batch of cookie dough! Even with the red pepper flakes it wasn’t in any way spicy, so have no fear!
2 TBSP olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used a jar of roasted red bell)
1 large sweet potato or 2 small red potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
4 C low-sodium vegetable broth
2 C broccoli florets
1 C frozen peas
1.5 C orzo
1/4 C chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp salt
1. In large nonstick pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin and cinnamon. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Add bell pepper, potato, saffron and 2 C broth. Increase heat and bring liquid to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pan and simmer, stirring once or twice, until potato is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add broccoli and peas. Cook 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat.
3. Meanwhile, in medium deep-sided skillet, heat remaining tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add orzo and cook, stirring often, until lightly coated with oil, 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining 2 C broth (or water) and pinch of salt to orzo. Bring to a boil. Stir a couple of times; cover and reduce heat to simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 12-15 minutes.
4. Divide orzo among 6 plates, top with mound of vegetables and sprinkle with chopped mint.
This was so good with a glass of Riesling and a slice of French Boule! And with only 300 calories per serving, I have no guilt about eating as much as I did..and neither should you!!
*Note: If you’re needing gluten-free, make sure your pasta of choice is gluten-free!!
*Variations: As yummy as the orzo is with these veg, sometimes you want a change from pasta..so I bet this would also be super yummy served over rice. You want something hearty enough to handle the sauciness of the veg, and to soak up the juices. I think it might be good with quinoa if you’re not looking for a grain that can hold it’s own with the veg and juice – I think quinoa would become very incognito in this dish. So play around with different pastas and/or grains!
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