Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quick & Easy Dinner: Toasted Orzo with Chicken, Kalamata Olives and Feta

I was craving chicken tonight but didn't have the energy to cook raw chicken and didn't want a big hunk of chicken on my plate either. I wanted it as flavoring, and not as the main dish. I ran to PCC and picked up some of their grilled chicken breasts, some orzo, kalamata olives and feta. Voila - I had myself all I needed for an experimental pasta. It wasn't fancy or incredible, but it was really good, fast and easy. And it was good enough that as my husband polished off his third serving he said, "Honey, you can make this any night!"

I served this with a simple green salad for a lazy Sunday supper that hit the spot.

Toasted Orzo with Chicken, Kalamata Olives and Feta

2 T butter
2 T olive oil
1 cup orzo pasta
2 1/2 cups water
1 Rapunzel brand vegetable bouillon cube (no salt version)
2 T minced shallot
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 chicken breast, cubed (I buy 1 or 2 grilled chicken strips from PCC)
1/3-1/2 cup tomato sauce (any jarred sauce will do)
1/2-3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese (I like sheeps milk feta)
1 T fresh parsley, minced
freshly ground pepper

Put 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add orzo pasta and saute for a few minutes, stirring regularly. Once it starts to brown a little bit, add water and vegetable bouillon cube (breaking apart as you sprinkle it in). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, sprinkle with some salt. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed (10 minutes or so), stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, combine 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil in a second pan over medium heat. Add shallot and saute for a few minutes. Add garlic and saute until it starts to sizzle. Add tomato sauce, kalamata olives, chicken, parsley and some pepper. Stir to combine and remove from heat. Once orzo pasta is completely cooked (you may have to add a little more stock or water if it's not cooked all the way and give it a few more minutes), add chicken-tomato mixture and stir to combine. Stir in feta and let it melt to create a creamier consistency. Allow feta to melt into pasta and flavors to mix. Check seasoning and serve.


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