Friday, February 26, 2010

Baked Orzo With Tomatoes, Roasted Peppers and Zucchini

Todd & I have been trying to eat in more instead of going out to eat. We probably used to go out to eat 5-6 times/week, which doesn't help your waistline or wallet. When we first started dating, Todd was working late most nights so it was easiest for us to just go out to dinner instead of taking extra time to make food. Unfortunately, we both gained a few pounds and now that I'm on a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, it's easier to cook ourselves. Now, we still do go out to eat a few times a week, but it seems like for the most part, we're going with friends.

My goal with cooking more is to make a new recipe at least once per week. I have TONS of recipes I've found over the years that I really want to try so I shouldn't run out of meals to cook. With it being a meatless Friday because of Lent and I have a long run tomorrow morning, I decided to make this pasta dish for Todd & I.

Baked Orzo with Tomatoes, Roasted Peppers and Zucchini

Baked Orzo With Tomatoes, Roasted Peppers and Zucchini

Ingredients:

1/2 pound orzo (about 1 1/8 cups)
Salt to taste
1 large red pepper, roasted and diced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium zucchini, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced; or 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 or 2 plump garlic cloves (to taste), minced
2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan or 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese (1/2 cup, tightly packed)

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil, and add the orzo. Cook eight minutes, or until it is cooked through but still firm to the bite. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the diced roasted pepper and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart baking dish. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, wide skillet. Add the zucchini and cook — stirring and turning over the slices, or tossing them in the pan — until just cooked through and lightly colored, about five minutes. Scrape into the bowl with the orzo.

3. Return the pan to the heat, add the final tablespoon of oil and the garlic. Cook just until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds, and add the tomatoes and salt to taste. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly and smell fragrant. Taste and adjust seasoning. Scrape into the bowl with the orzo, add the Parmesan or goat cheese, and mix everything together. Add freshly ground pepper to taste, and adjust salt. Transfer to the baking dish.

4. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is just beginning to color. Serve hot or warm.

Yield: Serves six

Advance preparation: You can assemble this several hours, even a day, before baking.


We had our meal with Italian bread from Whole Foods & olive oil with seasoning for dipping and thought everything was delicious. The only thing I might change the next time is to add some mozzarella cheese to the baked orzo.

I have my first 20 mi tomorrow morning for Boston training. Unfortunately, I'm coming down with a cold (probably from lack of sleep this week) and it's been snowing so I'm not 100% sure this run will happen. If it does happen, hopefully Todd is going to ride his bike alongside me and keep me company. I'm not sure how feasible this will be though if we get a few inches of snow tonight. If I wuss out and run on the treadmill (or don't run at all if I'm not feeling well...I'm not going to force myself to run if I'm sick), I still have a few more 20s and a 22 mi to run so don't worry, Todd will get his chance to ride while I run.

The last time Todd rode his bike was when he was watching me run the Columbus Marathon in October of 2008. He busted his tire at some point and luckily had one of our friend's brothers pick him up and take him to the finish. Well, he went to fix his tire last night & apparently a bunch of the ball bearings from his pedal fell out so his bike is still out of commission. Todd was going to call a few people to see if he could borrow someone's bike but then I realized my Dad has a bike that he obviously isn't using now so before dinner, Todd & I stopped by my parent's real quick to pick up the bike.

I'm really hoping this will be our last weekend of snow. We're an inch away from setting the record for amount of snow in February and I'm sure after tonight, we'll reach it.

1 comment:

marathonmaiden said...

good luck with the 20 tmrw! i'm sure youll rock it. hopefully you start feeling better and that you don't get too much snow and can get outside