Orzo with Artichoke Lemon Pesto is the perfect side dish for Easter. It is a taste of Spring in every healthy bite.
When I was 9 years old we went to Greece for a vacation. It was amazing. Besides the beauty of the architecture and the blueness of the sea, I remember the food. Of course, I do! For the longest time I fondly remembered a side dish I had with chicken. At the time I did not know what it was other than it was unbelievably good. It looked like rice but tasted like pasta. I had thought about that side dish for years wondering what it was. Then finally I had orzo. Light-bulb moment! That was it. That was what I had in Greece with a little tomato sauce. Finally my quest for that mysterious side dish was over but my love for orzo remains. So when I tasted my Artichoke Lemon Pesto, I knew I wanted to mix it in with orzo for the perfect side dish for Easter.
It is amazing to me that something I had eaten when I was 9 years old could still have such an impact on me. I don’t know if it was just that good or if it was the novelty of being somewhere new. Greece was phenomenal. I had a love of history even then but seeing the ancient ruins really brought it to life for me. I still remember climbing up the Acropolis to the Parthenon. It is mind-blowing that this structure which is almost 3000 years old is still standing even if it is in ruins. There is enough of the ruins that you can imagine how ornate and grand it must have been. It truly makes you feel tied to the past and the people who have come before you. I love the feeling of walking in someone else’s footsteps.
Thirty something years later that trip to Greece helped inspire my Easter Menu. I had to sneak in orzo somehow and using it with my Artichoke Lemon Pesto was the perfect way to do that. I then used lots of Greek spices and flavors in my Cornish Hens recipe that will post on Thursday. It is just like a Greek fest. Someday I hope to take my little one to Greece. I hope she will be able to understand the magnitude of what she is seeing and fully appreciate the importance of history. All of that just from a little orzo!
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- 1 cup (6 oz) orzo
- ⅔ cup Artichoke Lemon Pesto
- ½ oz. grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- Cook orzo according to manufacturers instruction. Keep aside 2 tbsp. pasta water and drain the rest.
- Place orzo in a medium bowl and mix in pesto, cheese, parsley and salt.
- Add some of the pasta water for your desired consistency.
- Serve immediately.
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