Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lemon Chicken Orzo Risotto

Whenever I make Lemon Chicken Orzo Risotto I probably eat a whole serving just out of the skillet. I can't even wait for proper bowls and my family. It's sooo good.

And I don't even feel guilty, because, get this, Lemon Chicken Orzo Risotto has cauliflower and veggies snuck in there.  I promise, your kids will not notice. It's amazing.

My inspiration for this dish came from Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook. She's a master at getting puréed veggies into meals I often change her recipes quite a bit to punch up the flavor, but I love the ideas.

I've tried a variety of green veggies added to this Risotto. Fresh asparagus is my favorite, but peas and edamame are nice additions as well. Or, skip the green and just know you're covered with that cauliflower.


Ingredients List
Serves 4-6
  • 1 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika + more for sprinkling later
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cauliflower, cut into flowerets
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into quarters
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (or 3/4 cup shelled peas or edamame)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 1 large lemon, grated for zest and then cut in half
  • 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan

Step 1: Boil orzo pasta 5 minutes less than according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

Step 2: In a microwave safe container, heat cauliflower and two tablespoons of water on high until pieces are easily pierced with a fork. I used the "fresh vegetable" setting. Set aside to cool.

Step 3: Put onion, garlic and cauliflower in a food processor or blender. Pulse until cauliflower looks puréed and onions and garlic are very finely chopped. Set aside.

Step 4:  In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over high heat. Once hot, place chicken pieces evenly in the pan. Sprinkle with half of the paprika and then salt and pepper to taste. Allow chicken to brown for 5 minutes, then flip the chicken pieces over with a spatula. Sprinkle remaining paprika and salt and pepper. Allow to cook for 5 minutes or until all chicken is browned and cooked through. Pieces should break apart easily with a spatula. 

Step 5: Remove chicken pieces from pan and set aside. Reduce heat. 

Step 5: Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to the pan. Add in cauliflower mixture to pan and sauté for 5 minutes to soften onions.

Step 6: Stir in the orzo pasta, chicken, asparagus pieces (or peas or edamame) , chicken broth, white wine, lemon zest, cream cheese and Parmesan. Fold mixture gently over low heat until cheeses are melted and the pasta is creamy. 

Step 7: Turn off the heat, squeeze the lemon juice out of your lemons over the dish, stir one more time, and sprinkle with a little more paprika for color.

Step 8: Eat!