Garlicky Orzo with Spinach, Fennel and Orange Zest

Topics: Recipes

orzo spinachPreparation Time:  5 minutes
Cooking Time:  12 minutes
Servings  4


2 teaspoons garlic infused or extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (6 ounces) orzo pasta, (a rice-shaped pasta), uncooked
2 cups low salt chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, slightly crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 package (10 ounces) spinach leaves, sliced or baby spinach leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly shredded orange zest, organic preferred


Heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil and garlic; cook 30 seconds. Stir in orzo; cook 30 seconds. Add broth, marjoram, fennel, and pepper flakes. Simmer uncovered until orzo is tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in spinach, tossing for 1 minute until wilted. Add salt; mix well and transfer to serving plates. Top with orange zest.


Crushing fennel seeds (actually almost any seed) makes its aromatic oils come to the surface, so that you get extra flavors. Don’t toast these, though-their delicate perfume will evaporate. Orange zest brightens the dish, adding both color and a twinge of sweet sourness. If you don’t have an orange, don’t fret—any citrus fruit will do. The reason to add salt to a dish made with a low sodium broth is that you control how much salt you want to have, not the processor. A touch of red pepper flakes here adds zing—if the dish seems to be missing a little something, use 1/2 teaspoon rather than 1/4 teaspoon.


Beef or vegetable broth may replace the chicken broth—beef broth, predictably, makes for a meatier side dish, and vegetable broth gives it a cleaner but still broad flavor. Look for low sodium broths.

Nutrition Facts:

Fat Calories: 36.00
Total Fat:  4.00 g
Sat. Fat:  0.60 g
Total Carbohydrate:  15.40 g
Fiber:  2.40 g
Sugars:  0.40 g
Protein:  7.00 g
Sodium: 491 mg