Monday, April 10, 2017

Lemon Orzo with Asparagus

My farmer is back in the field - it's arguably the best time of the year. I love the Springtime and all of the new promises it holds. You have the chance to have the perfect growing season. It never quite happens - but it's what we like to call a "fresh start". There aren't any breakdowns yet, no weeds have escaped the chemicals, all of the seeds have came up, mother nature is good to us. It's every farmers (or farmers wife) positive outlook on the new season..... It's the first day - anything can happen.  ;)

I made this last year for Easter. Then I loved it so much I made it once a week... then burnt myself out on it before blogging it..... But here I am again - craving this wonderful orzo tossed with asparagus in a lemony garlicky dressing. It's the perfect springtime dish - colorful and light. So very simple and elegant. I have done it just as a side dish and I have also added grilled chicken and I topped it with salmon once too (that meal wasn't farmer approved ;)

Look at all of these beautiful ingredients.... So fresh.

and fresh lilacs from my grandmothers garden (and i spy a farmers sweatshirt in the background)

This lemon dressing is so good I have used similar variations on a lettuce salad.

Hands down - the easiest way to cook asparagus is to cut off the ends, lay in a large cake pan, add boiling water and immediately cover with saran wrap. So easy, not very messy and perfectly cooked each time...

The turmeric adds a great rusty color to the orzo. 

Once the asparagus is done - chop into bite sized pieces and toss in a bowl. 

The kitchen smells of wonderful garlic, lemon and parsley at this point.

See below for complete recipe. 

Lemon Orzo with Asparagus

For the Dressing:

·         1 lemon zested

·         1 lemon juiced

·         3 cloves fresh minced garlic

·         Salt and pepper to taste

·         ¼ cup olive oil

For the Orzo:

·         1 lb. of asparagus

·         2 cups of chicken broth

·         2 cups of water

·         1 tsp. salt

·         ¼ tsp turmeric

·         1 ½ cups dry orzo pasta

·         ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley


1.       Place lemon zest, juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a deep medium bowl.

2.       Add oil and whisk until it’s emulsified a bit, set aside.

3.       Chop the end pieces off the asparagus and lay on a 9x13 baking dish. Pour boiling water over the asparagus and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit until water is warm enough to touch. Drain water and cut the asparagus into 2 inch pieces.

4.       Place the chicken broth and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the salt and turmeric and bring back to a boil. Add the Orzo and cook until tender – just about 10 minutes.

5.       Drain Orzo, but DO NOT rinse it. Place the hot orzo in a large bowl, add asparagus and parsley. Whisk the dressing again if needed and pour over the salad. Mix well.

6.       Top with butter is preferred. (I add a little bit to keep it from getting clumpy).

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