Creamy Japanese Style Orzo with Chrysanthemum Greens

Orzo is a delicious alternative to rice, made from pasta, that cooks up creamy and really brings out the taste of Japanese green vegetables.  Serve it as a side dish or an entree- but be sure to eat it while it is hot off the stove.

Risotto is a popular rice-based dish in Japan, but orzo, also known as risoni, is a delicious alternative made from pasta that really brings out the taste of the greens.  Although easy to make, it takes a little patience to gradually add the liquid and let it cook into the dish.  This dish is wonderful when made with shungiku, chrysanthemum greens, but I usually mix in other greens because shungiku has a strong taste on its own that could quickly overpower the other ingredients.  A 1/3 mix of shungiku with other leafy greens like spinach, kale, chard, watercress, and/or arugula works well.  I also like to mix in some mitsuba- Japanese parsley- which complements the taste of the dish.  This orzo dish is also flavored with butter, fresh garlic, and cheese to create a sophisticated culinary experience.

Once the risoni is cooked through, I like to mix in some fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and serve it while it is hot.  When it cools it gets sticky so best not to wait.

Although this dish can be refrigerated and reheated, I recommend cooking just enough for your family or friends and serving this right out of the pan.  Don’t worry about leftovers – this dish is so good that it’s unlikely you will have any.

Creamy Japanese Style Orzo with Chrysanthemum Greens

Orzo is sautéed in garlic and butter and then consommé is gradually added and cooked into the pasta creating a creamy pasta dish, very similar to risotto but unique in its own ways.  As the liquid is cooked in, fresh greens are added and cooked in.  Once the orzo is tender it is removed from the heat and shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese is mixed in to complete the dish.

Serve this dish hot out of the pan and eat it before it cools and hardens.

if you need to reheat it later, cook it on a stove over medium heat with a little dashi or consommé to loosen it back up.

PREP COOKING YIELD
35 minutes 4 servings
PREP
COOKING 35 minutes
YIELD 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of uncooked orzo
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken consommé
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped shungiku (chrysanthemum greens), fresh spinach, arugula, and/or any other mix of  green and leafy vegetables
  • 1/2 cup chopped mitsuba (Japanese parsley)
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 2 tsps lightly salted butter
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped finely

Instructions:

  • In a 9 inch frypan, sauté garlic in 2 tsps of butter over medium heat for  2 1/2 minutes until garlic is brown.

  • Add in the orzo and sauté in the butter for two more minutes stirring constantly until the orzo is lightly browned.

  • Add just enough consommé to cover the orzo and stir in.  Stir for 2-3 minutes until the consommé is mostly absorbed.  Add just enough consommé to cover the orzo again.  Stir in for another 2-3 minutes until the consommé is mostly absorbed.

  • Turn the heat down to medium.  Stir in the green vegetables and mix in gently until the orzo and vegetables have blended completely.

  • As the consommé soaks into the orzo, continue to add more and stir.  Continue this process until all of the consommé has been used up and the orzo is cooked and firm.  The total cooking time from when the consommé was first added should be 18-20 minutes.

  • Remove from heat.  Stir in the shredded cheese.

  • Serve.

Notes:

  • Shungiku has a strong taste on its own that could quickly overpower the other ingredients.  A 1/3 mix of shungiku with other leafy greens like spinach, kale, chard, watercress, and/or arugula works well.  If you don’t care for shungiku, omit it altogether.
  • Cracked black peppercorns make a great topper, so make sure you have your peppermill ready to go!

 

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