I never understood orzo. Rice-shaped pasta?  Pasta-flavored rice?  I was never quite sure so I avoided it altogether — until now. This recipe comes from Hayley — my daughter and co-author of this blog — who’s cooking style leans toward quick and easy so I decided to give this one a try. Creamy, flavorful, satisfying: if that isn’t the definition of comfort food, I don’t know what is. Make this as a side dish with fish or roast chicken for dinner, or eat it by itself curled up on the couch.  This is comfort in a bowl. — L. Weal

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (8 ounces) orzo pasta
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 sprigs basil (about 12 large leaves)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese

large (12-inch) skillet with lid
measuring cups and spoons
cooking spoon
cutting board
chef’s knife

1. Combine butter and orzo in skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté orzo in melted butter, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted — about 5 minutes.
2. Add stock, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed — about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse and mince basil leaves.
3. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and minced basil.

• No fresh basil on hand? Substitute with 2 teaspoons dried basil.
• Buy pre-shredded Parmesan found in the dairy case – not the pasta aisle – for best flavor.

25 minutes

6 servings