Garlicky Orzo with Spinach, Fennel and Orange Zest

Topics: Recipes

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Tips:

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.

Substitutions:

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