Thursday, October 30, 2008

Asparagus & Mushroom Orzotto with Feta

I subscribe to a few different food magazines, one of them being Vegetarian Times. I'm not a vegetarian, but I've spent most of my life avoiding most meat. Only recently have I really made meat my main protein source in my diet and that's simply because I've fallen into a rut with cooking. I've been so busy with school lately that it's so much easier to throw a last minute steak on the grill than to actually think up a menu and stick to it. But, my body's not really loving me for it. Plus, I do have a little moral issue with meat. Not all meat, but commercially raised meat. I was raised with a healthy respect for all life, and if something is going to be giving up its life to sustain me then it better be damn well treated humanely while it was on this earth. Modern factory-farming is just not that. It's a horrible, evil thing and I feel like a complete wretch every time I buy meat at the grocery store. I also think that if one is willing to eat meat then one should be willing it kill the animal, but that's a long story and is not the time nor here the place. So, I've been looking through my past issues of VT, hoping to find some healthier alternatives to our meals as of late.

This Asparagus and Mushroom Orzotto recipe was found in the last issue of Vegetarian Times. It was paired with a veg Osso Bucco that sounded particularly delicious. However, I am fundamentally unable to follow a recipe so I ended up changing it quite a bit. First off, I don't usually have vegetable stock, so chicken stock it is - and there goes vegetarian right off the menu. It wanted me to add parmesan, I wanted to add feta, you see, we just weren't getting along. So, as per usual, I just did whatever I felt like.

Thankfully it turned out pretty fantastic.

Asparagus & Mushroom Orzotto with Feta

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed and sliced on bias into thirds
6 oz. cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup orzo
3-4 cups chicken stock, warmed
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup feta, crumbled

Heat olive oil and butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute 5 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic, and saute 2 minutes. Add asparagus and mushrooms, and saute 5 to
7 minutes, or until mushrooms start to release their juices. Add 1/2 cup orzo and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add remaining orzo, and cook
3 minutes more, or until all pasta bits are browned. Stir in 1/2 cup vegetable broth,
parsley, and thyme, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, or until orzo has absorbed all liquid, stirring often. Continue adding broth to orzo 1/2 cup at a time until all liquid is absorbed and orzo cooked through. Remove from heat, and top with feta and a crack or two fresh ground black pepper.


Kristin said...

If you read that last line quickly, it looks like you're saying to top with crack. It would still be vegetarian!

cookiecrumb said...

Awesome photoing!

(Aren't there hornet parts in crack?)

jesse said...

Wow, I'm blown away by your photos and the food.. yum!