I love recipes targeted toward weeknight cooking. Those that simplify more complex, more involved recipes that we love. Well, this is one of those recipes. It takes a dish many love, pasta carbonara, and simplifies it to make it quicker, simpler...in short, more "weeknight-friendly". This week's Recipe of the Week is Carbonara Orzo Risotto from TheKitchn.com, one of my favorite websites.
This recipe uses those little orzo pasta grains instead of risotto rice - which speeds up the recipe A LOT and also makes it a little more forgiving. It's probably not a "true" risotto of course (according to the Italians). But, hey, who cares?
The recipe begins with pancetta (salty and meaty), onions, and thyme cooked together. Wow! What a way to launch a recipe, huh? Then you lightly toast the orzo to add yet another layer of flavor. Then you add water and sort of deglaze the pot by scraping up the pancetta, onion, and thyme bits. Next you add milk and salt, stir to combine it all, and bring it to a boil. Once it reaches a boil you lower the heat and simmer (stirring and scraping the bottom and sides along the way). When almost all the liquid is absorbed and the orzo becomes tender (maybe 10 minutes). Leaving some of the liquid will help keep the dish creamy. At this point you remove it from the heat and add in fresh Italian parsley and parmesan. Then serve 'em up! How easy is that?
Oh, and by the way, if you want to add a little smokiness, you can substitute thick-cut smoked bacon for the pancetta. A little trade-off you might consider depending on taste.
This whole recipe is about a 30-40 minute process. Not bad at all for a weeknight!
Just a bit about TheKitchn.com. As I said, this is one of my favorite sites. In my opinion it's simply one of the best all-around home and lifestyle sites out there. They cover everything from cooking and kitchen to decorating and travel. It's primarily focused on the kitchen (of course!) So their travel articles focus on food - food to try in different locales, food to eat while in-transit, etc. They publish 20+ articles a day (all high-quality, entertaining, and informative) and have over 17 million readers every month. You really need to check it out! It's a great resource!
RECIPES OF THE WEEK.
And be sure to visit the great blogs I mention. You'll be happy you did!