While digging through my cupboards the other day, I came across a partially used bag of orzo, which is a kind of pasta that looks a lot like rice. I bought it awhile back for a recipe – I forget what now – and it’s been sitting there ever since. So I went online to find a recipe that would use it. I came across this one for butternut squash with orzo. This is the time of year for butternut squash, so I decided to try it.
The recipe says to simmer the squash about 10 minutes; to get it all cooked through required more like 20 or 30 minutes. But that was okay as it took that long to get the broth heated and the orzo cooked. It sounds like the orzo is supposed to absorb most of 3 ½ cups of broth, but that didn’ t happen. There was at least a cup of broth left when the orzo was done cooking. So if I make this again, I won’t bother adding so much. By the way, I used homemade broth instead of canned. Canned broth might be stronger, but as it was, I don't think the flavors were unbalanced.
The sage I used was some from my garden; it’s a decorative type called tricolor sage. Its flavor is not as good as the usual culinary sage, I discovered. I hadn’t picked quite enough, so I supplemented what I had with some dried rubbed sage. Some of the cooks who commented on this recipe on the Epicurious site said it was important to use fresh sage, and they are probably right.
This is a good recipe, not great, but not bad, and pretty easy. It stands up well to reheating. It also makes a generous amount; more like 6 servings than 4. It would be a good Thanksgiving side dish. Sorry I don’t have a picture of it, but imagine orange chunks of squash mixed with rice – that’s about what it looks like.
Verdict: Hmmm...I might make it again.
Butternut Squash and Sage Orzo
(source: epicurious.com)3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
4 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine1 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
Melt butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add butternut squash and stir to coat. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and wine. Simmer until squash is almost tender and liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 3 1/2 cups broth to boil in heavy saucepan. Add orzo. Boil until tender but still firm to bite, about 8 minutes. Drain orzo if necessary.
Transfer orzo to large bowl. Stir in butternut squash mixture, then Parmesan and sage. Season with salt and pepper.
Recycle: broth can, wine bottle
Compost: vegetable peelings