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All Fired Up!
by Margaret Howard

Orzo, a rice shaped pasta, is an interesting replacement for rice in this spinach pilaf.
Makes 6 servings


• 1 bag (10 oz) spinach, trimmed and washed or 1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 2 cups orzo
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
• 1 cup sliced mushrooms
• 1 medium zucchini, diagonally sliced into 12 pieces
• 1 medium sweet red pepper, seeded and cut into large dice
• Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. In large saucepan, cook spinach with water that remains on leaves after washing, until wilted but bright green; or, cook frozen spinach according to package directions; drain well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. In food processor or blender, puree spinach until almost smooth. Spoon 1/2 cup spinach puree into large bowl; reserve remaining puree for another use (one package of spinach provides enough puree to double this recipe or to make it again).

3. In large saucepan, cook orzo in boiling water for about 10 minutes or until al dente (tender but still firm). Drain well and stir into spinach.

4. Meanwhile, in large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Add garlic and onion; cook for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, zucchini and red pepper; cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir into orzo-spinach mixture and toss to combine.

5. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Variation: Toss orzo pasta with olive oil and some chopped sun-dried tomatoes for an excellent side dish with grilled chicken or beef.


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