Crispy Orzo with Artichokes and Lemon.
It’s here!! This crispy orzo pot, a flavor explosion, is fiiiinally here.
Crispy orzo with artichokes and creamy goat cheese and zesty lemon and crunchy prosciutto. Doesn’t that sound like the best party in your mouth?
Come watch me make it on instagram today!
Okay so I promise I’m not turning into a pasta blog. This is another dish that I made waaaay before our quarantine, but it works out well if you have a few pantry ingredients! You can sub rice or even couscous for the orzo, so there’s that.
I’m such a seasonal cook so coming up with meals that can be made with ingredients in our pantry right now has been HARD. I want to cook all the fresh asparagus and spring produce and prepare delicious Easter dishes!
Luckily, this one fits the quarantine bill. You may need to skip an ingredient or two if you don’t have it, but that’s totally okay!
So let’s do it.
You have to cook the orzo first (and you can totally do this ahead of time) but once it’s cooked? It comes together quickly!
The other thing you want to do is crisp up some prosciutto. This is my FAVORITE part. One of my favorite salads ever is a simple greens salad with tons of lemon, parmesan and crispy prosciutto.
Besides being delicious, obviously, one of the main reasons I love this prosciutto is because once it’s crisped up (pan fried like bacon), it becomes so delicately crisp that it literally crumbles at the touch. This means that you can easily crumble it over salads and pastas. It’s much thinner than bacon or pancetta, so it truly SHATTERS.
Yes, shattered prosciutto pasta. We should make that a thing!
And the other great thing – because the prosciutto is so thin, it doesn’t get soft and gross in the fridge. Meaning leftovers of this are INCREDIBLE. Super good with possibly even more flavor?
After the cooking of the orzo and the crumbling of the prosciutto, it comes together.
The most important part is to crisp up the orzo! Considering this is a crispy orzo dish, that part is important. Take a big old pan or skillet, add some olive oil and toss in the cooked orzo. Almost as if you’re making fried rice. You want to alternate between stirring occasionally and flattening the orzo against the pan, allowing it to cook a few minutes before tossing.
There will be bits of crispy orzo, some chunks will stick together and some pieces will remain soft, which makes this a texture lover’s dream.
Like me! That’s me. Give me alllll the texture.
You’re going to add canned/jarred artichoke hearts, a bunch of fresh lemon zest, goat cheese (or feta, or parm, or whatever you have on hand), and a few mint leaves. Spring in a dish, if I do say so myself.
Oh and don’t be freaked by the mint! It adds this refreshing bite that works so well. If you don’t have it right now, any other herb that you enjoy will work.
I know that Easter celebrations with friends and family are up in the air for most of us. Either way, this would make a fantastic side dish. But in the meantime, it makes an incredible dinner for you, tonight!
And let’s be real – the crispy orzo can be the base for just about ANY flavor. Whatever you have in your pantry or fridge, add it in.
Crispy Orzo with Artichokes and Lemon
- 3 cups cooked orzo
- 4 ounces prosciutto
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 12 ounce jars artichoke hearts, drained (and chopped if you wish)
- 1 lemon, zest grated and juiced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 to 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- fresh mint or herbs for garnish
If you haven’t cooked the orzo yet, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook 1 ½ cups according to the package directions. This is usually to boil for 8 to 10 minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the prosciutto and cook until crisp and golden, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the prosciutto and place it on a paper towel to cool. Prosciutto does not render as much fat as bacon, so you will most likely need olive oil here. If you use bacon instead, there may be enough fat in the skillet to cook the orzo. Ideally you want about 2 tablespoons.
In the same skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add in the shallots and the garlic with a pinch of salt and stir. Cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add in the orzo and toss well. Press the orzo into an even layer in the pan so it covers the entire bottom. Let it cook and crispy for a few minutes, then toss and repeat the process, pressing it into the bottom of the pan to cook. You want to do this a few times over, until the orzo is a bit crisp and golden in color.
Once the orzo is finished, add in the artichoke hearts. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Turn off heat.
Crumble the goat cheese into the orzo and toss. Stir in the fresh mint. Crumble the prosciutto on top and serve immediately.
Crunch crunch crunch.