Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"i lived through a record one summer last fall"

Last night's dinner...Orzo with Garbanzo Beans and Feta
Last night's song..."One Summer Last Fall" Jets to Brazil

Happy autumn! It is a beautiful day in Austin. We got 3 inches of rain last night and the highs today are in the mid 70's. It is rare that on the first day of fall we would see such a dramatic change and I really hope it sticks. Tonight I'm planning a cool weather meal: vegetable soup and cheddar biscuits from the lovely Bread & Honey blog that I fortuitously ran across last night. And I am even more excited to eat it knowing that temperatures might to get into the 5o's this evening. Yay!

Now, about last night's meal...the last meal of summer. I first want to offer the disclaimer that last night's dinner wasn't totally amazing. I was hurrying to feed us. We were both starving after work- we ate so much polenta leftovers during the weekend that our Monday lunch leftovers were puny. If my last post was praising meals that took a long time to prepare, this one is lauding the benefit of a fast meal. This took me only 30 minutes, thanks largely to the pasta/vegetable cooking trick I picked up from 101cookbooks. Cooking pasta and vegetables in the same pot?! Genius. I rarely cook pasta now without throwing some green beans, asparagus, or broccoli in the pot. It's so easy, it just seems silly not to.

I had an orzo-garbanzo-cheese combination in mind for a few days after seeing this recipe. The original has a lot of potential and is a good starting point...the gritty garbanzos compliment the silky orzo quite nicely. I changed a lot to make this into a full meal and to use things I had in my fridge. Maybe you can figure out what extra thing would have made this fantastic instead of pretty good. My best guess is more fat- a creamier sauce or pesto, perhaps? I also think toasted pine nuts or walnuts would have added a lot. It sure looked pretty, though. :)

Orzo with Garbanzo Beans & Feta
(makes 2 servings, or 4 as a side dish)
1 1/2 cups orzo
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

small bunch broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8-10 mushrooms, sliced

handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped (or herb of your choice)

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup feta cheese

1/2 cup parmesan

s & p

Bring large pan of salted water to boil. Add orzo and boil for 2 minutes, then throw in broccoli florets. Boil all until just tender, about 5 more minutes. This whole process should take about 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In large skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Saute onions and mushrooms until they begin to get soft, then add garbanzo beans and garlic. Give it a good stir and then add orzo and broccoli. Add additional butter and olive oil and s & p. Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes, basil, and feta cheese. Serve topped with parmesan.


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