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Parmesan Orzo with Spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes

An easy, elegant, colorful side dish!  I don’t have a great big story behind this one.  I just saw something on PInterest that inspired me to throw this together.  I served it with grilled flank steak drizzled with balsamic reduction (see Balsamic Glazed Burgers with Warm Goat Cheese Spread for how to make balsamic reduction or buy a store bought brand such as Roland Balsamic Glaze).  This would be an easy side to make for a crowd.  Veggies and carbs all in one!  Serve with any type of lean meat (I think it’d be great with filet mignon).  Christmas Eve dinner anyone?

Parmesan Orzo with Spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked whole wheat orzo

4 Tbsp butter

1 tsp minced garlic

1 10 oz.-12 oz. bag fresh spinach

2 cups water or chicken broth (or a mix of both)

1/2 cup jarred sun dried tomatoes, sliced thin

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

toasted pine nuts (optional)

salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions:

In a saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp butter.  Add uncooked orzo and saute until orzo is browned slightly (1-2 minutes).  Add water and/or chicken broth; bring to boil and then turn down to simmer for 15 minutes.  While orzo is cooking, heat 2 Tbsp butter in saute pan.  Add minced garlic.  Add spinach and saute for a few minutes until spinach is wilted.  Take spinach off heat.  When orzo is finished (there may be a little extra broth but leave it in because it helps melt the cheese), mix in wilted spinach and parmesan cheese and stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix in sun dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts.  Serve immediately.

I served the orzo as a side to grilled flank steak.  I marinated the flank steak (about 2 lbs) in a combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic and pesto for about 4 hours.  I grilled the steak on high heat on my grill pan (about 2 minutes per side) and then finished it in the over at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.  I attempted to turn the marinade into a sauce by simmering it and adding a little cream and while it tasted pretty good, the consistency was a little strange.  So my back up idea was to drizzle a balsamic glaze over the sliced grilled flank steak.  This worked out great!

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