Orzo with Parmesan and Basil

My life has been hectic lately. After my return from Prague and Berlin, I had to pump up the intensity with my lab research in preparation for wrapping things up to be published and also start writing up said publication. On top of that this summer, we are planning for me to train for a month with a collaborator in Knoxville working with mice. Then Tuesday of this week I got into an accident and my car is in the shop for at least a week. Thank goodness for car insurance, but at the same time a graduate student such as myself cannot fork over a $500 deductible very easily. I did luck out by being able to borrow a friends car in the meantime, so at least I don’t have to pay for a rental on top of everything else.

Between the precious time of each day going by and my black hole of a bank account, you could say I’m just a bit stressed out- by a bit I mean a lot. As a result I will be having some guest posters lined up about once a week to alleviate some of that stress. Hopefully I will start sleeping better at night too, due to a combination of getting over jet-lag and mind-racing thoughts even when my head is in contact with a pillow. Sometimes life needs a pause button, if only for one day.

Going along with my busy schedule these days (and yes I am still somehow managing to go to the gym almost every day and cook myself dinner), I have been increasing the number of quick meals I prepare. When I get home at 9pm I require food in front of me in less than 30 minutes, in order to battle the desire to give in to the Taco Bell right around the corner from where I live.

This is a fast and flavorful weeknight no-meat dinner option. And in fact is the very first time I have cooked with orzo. I used to think it was a type of rice, but turns out it is just a short pasta (which is why I could not find it in the rice section of my grocery store). But in this recipe it cooks up just like rice by absorbing the liquid. Then just add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped basil and you’re all set to chill on the couch with your favorite fur-ball.

One year ago: Italian Herb & Cheese Fettucine


Serves 4


3 Tbsp unsalted butter

1-1/2 cups whole wheat orzo

3 cups vegetable stock

6 Tbsp fresh chopped basil

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper


  1. Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the orzo and saute for a few minutes, until the orzo starts to get golden brown. Add the broth and cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until all the broth has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, add the basil and Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Source: Tasty Kitchen

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