I don’t know what the hell orzo is, but I cooked it

by DGO Web Administrator

I didn’t know what the hell orzo was when I decided to make it this week, and even as I write this I only have a vague idea. However, after spending an evening following a flurry of way too many directions (in my humble opinion), I found this dish – one-pan orzo Italiano – to be a delicious, albeit mysterious, comfort meal.

The decision to delve into a recipe that called for the use of both the oven and stove top probably couldn’t have come at a worse time, as this was the day our air conditioner stopped working. It was a whopping 84 degrees in our apartment, and the heat from my kitchen appliances did nothing to alleviate the conditions of the suffocating hellhole my apartment had become. Nevertheless, I was committed. And starving.

The recipe first called for a good washing of all produce items: spinach, tomatoes, two garlic cloves, parsley, and lemons.

Upon examination, I found that my garlic cloves looked like two wrinkly hags waiting to be put out of their misery, while my spinach seemed to be passive-aggressively implying that I had waited far too long to utilize its precious potential. Thankfully, I had fresh-looking garlic tucked in my cupboard; however, I was forced to spend a solid 10 minutes plucking through my spinach leaves, attempting to find a handful of ingredients that didn’t look like soggy rabbit food. Gross, but I was determined to include a dash of health in my dinner of carbs.

Once that was finished, I got to work cooking my Italian chicken sausage meat over some olive oil. As I mindlessly stirred my still partially frozen protein, I wondered a.) What the hell is Italian chicken sausage, anyway; b.) Why did it look like pink slime; and c.) Why was I about to eat this?

Once the meat was sufficiently browned, I mixed in the tomatoes and garlic. Unfortunately for all of these ingredients, I received an important call right about this time and got distracted. However, I’d say my greatest cooking sin is I tend to overcook things, so this fit right in.

Next came the orzo and Italian seasoning, which I was to cook and stir until the orzo was “coated in juices.” Then I added in water, chicken stock, and spinach while going back and forth between following up on the phone call, checking on my concoction, and cursing at the heat and my general disorganization.

The recipe then called for my all-time favorite ingredient – cheese – and I wasted no time in adding far more mozzarella than the directions called for. Cuz protein? After squeezing a lemon over my meal like a fancy lady, and sprinkling panko breadcrumbs and parmesan over the top, I was ready to broil my supper.

Once again, I fell into bad habits of not paying close enough attention while second-guessing how long to broil for. Thus, I overcooked the delicious mixture. Fortunately, I could only tell it was overdone by how the hearty crust of parmesan that had enveloped across the top chipped my tooth. Ok, I’m exaggerating, but only slightly. That shit was gnarly.

It was several bites in before I could decide whether I liked this orzo-chicken-slime-sausage-garlic concoction, but ultimately it was the tangy tomatoes, delicious amount of mozzarella, and a modest hint of Italian spice that earned my favor, and I returned for a bowl of seconds.

Amanda Push is a writer who wishes she lived with a cat and just wants to learn how to not eat like a college student anymore. Contact her at [email protected]

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