Tonight’s dinner was a challenge.  TB asked if I thought we could have it made and eaten in about 40 minutes, as he was supposed to meet up with a friend.  Considering I had no clue what I was going to make I said sure and looked for whatever we had on hand.  On rushed dinner evenings I often turn to pasta, you can’t get any easier than that.

I was pleased with how this turned out.  It had a different background taste to it.   A smooth richness with a freshness…is that possible?  While I used ground lamb, I am sure this could be made with ground beef or poultry.  Easy peasy as my favourite Jamie Oliver would say!

orzo

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
6 cups salted water
1 lemon, juiced
fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp freshly chopped basil

1 lb ground lean lamb
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic (I know it is a lot, but it still didn’t overpower in my opinion)
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 6 oz can tomato sauce
1 tomato finely diced
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 half and half (optional)
1/4 cup crumbled feta
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring salted water to a boil, add orzo allow to cook for 8 minutes until slightly al dente.
  2. Meanwhile in a skillet heat up oil and add lamb, brown it over medium high heat.  Remove and drain in a colander.
  3. Spray pan with veg oil and saute onions.  As they begin to get translucent, add garlic and allow to cook – careful not to let it burn.  You may want to lower the heat to medium.
  4. Add spices, allow aroma to be released (2 minutes).
  5. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, and chicken stock.  Return lamb to skillet. Simmer sauce until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
  6. While sauce is simmering, combine lemon juice, basil, cooked orzo and pepper in a bowl, stir to incorporate.
  7. Once sauce has thickened add half and half, cook for about a minute.  Pour sauce over pasta, top with feta.

Easily serves two to three (plus leftovers!).

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