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Easy Family Recipes: Orzo with Italian Sausage and Spinach

Orzo Sausage PilafHave you ever made a pilaf? We’re going old-school by preparing an orzo pilaf this week, then jazzing it up with sweet Italian sauage. Yum! Not sure as to what exactly a pilaf is? Typically, it is a rice dish cooked in broth instead of water, sometimes toasting the rice in a bit of butter or oil prior to adding the broth. This adds an extra layer of toasty flavor for a more delicious dish. Instead of rice though, we’re using orzo, which is actually a rice-shaped pasta. It’s a one-dish meal that is super simple and really flavorful. If you’re feeling spunky, add mushrooms for even more va-va-voom!. Kids hate them? Leave them out–no worries. Questioning the spinach? A 10-ounce package of spinach wilts down to almost nothing. Feel free to cut it back or leave it out entirely if it will totally turn off the kids. Regardless, thisquick but hearty meal will satisfy you and your family.

Orzo with Italian Sausage and Spinach

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic
  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter and add orzo. Stir until lightly browned. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes, until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, in large skillet over medium heat, add sausage and crumble with potato masher until fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Add onion and mushrooms (if using), and continue to cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms are tender. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds or until garlic becomes fragrant.

Turn heat down to low. Add spinach and cover pan to allow spinach to wilt. Set aside until orzo is done.

When orzo is done, add sausage mixture and Parmesan cheese and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

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Recipe courtesy of Bob Evans

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