Thursday, August 28, 2008

Orzo with Garbanzo Beans, Herbs and Goat Cheese

Summer is almost over, but I'm a rebel at heart and I don't want to let go. Shhh... don't tell me that September is creeping up on us, no no. Not for me, the harsh reality. Let's just pretend it's still June and I will tell you about this awesome dish I made today. Really, I don't know what else to say but that you have to go and make it. Right now. Once you finish reading the recipe, that is. It's going onto my top easy dinners list, because I made it, I tasted it, and I just had to keep on tasting. Phew, it's a good thing the recipe yields a lot!

The thing that I love so much about this dish is that it lets each ingredient shine without overwhelming any of the others. It's like being at a party where all the people are beautiful (but not having to listen to inane conversation). The orzo is tender and firm, the garbanzo beans give it some crunch and flavor, the lemon zings, the herbs dance, the goat cheese provides some texture, and the olive oil -- you have to use a really good one for this -- is kind of like a tequila shot, in that it makes everyone happy. See, I told you it's like a party! It's a perfect side dish, with a mild flavor that isn't actually boring, and it's probably less time consuming than almost anything else I've ever made. Small on effort, big on the taste? That's my kind of cooking! Tasting it put me right back into the middle of summer, at a brunch by the pool, with some pita bread, grilled chicken and maybe a tequila shot or two (I'm very specific in my fantasies).

Orzo with Garbanzo Beans, Herbs and Goat Cheese
(adopted from Bon Appetit, June 2008)

*The original recipe called for oregano, but I love the fresh taste and smell of cilantro, so I threw that in instead, and I also chopped up some dill and added a little extra lemon juice. The great thing is that you can play around with whatevere you have on hand -- rosemary would be delicious also, and I could see this with chopped tomatoes and basil.

1 1/2 cups orzo (about 9 ounces)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 15- to 15 1/2-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (*note: I put 4 tablespoons of chopped cilantrol and 2 tablespoons of chopped dill)
1 5-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup) (*note: I found this to be twice as much goat cheese as I really wanted, so add about half of that first and then add more if you're a goat cheese fan)

Cook orzo in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, stirring occasionally. Drain orzo.

Whisk olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and minced garlic to blend in large serving bowl. Add drained garbanzo beans, cooked orzo, and chopped fresh herbs; toss salad to coat (make sure to get all the way to the bottom where the lemon juice likes to go). Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Gently stir in crumbled goat cheese. Serve orzo salad warm or at room temperature. Yeah, that's it!


Helene said...

That dish is just wonderful and a great way to celebrate the end of summer!
Re-Gerard Mulot: he is high up there on my list of favorites! All his pastries are beyond wonderful!

Peg said...

Great recipe! I love Bon Appetit - it's fun to hear which recipes others have tried and liked.

I just posted about a BA-inspired experience at my own site:

You always have great photos. Even though I don't often reply, I do stop by whenever I can.

(Now that things are less hectic at work, I'll be visiting more often)