At first glance, this recipe may look like any other simple side dish, but the flavor is anything but simple. Orzo cooks in vegetable broth to boost the flavor before it's tossed with a garlic-infused orange-juice reduction and fresh basil. At the end of taste testing, there wasn't a piece of orzo left in the bowl, and the recipe received our highest rating.
2 (14-ounce) cans vegetable broth (such as Swanson)
1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon grated fresh orange rind
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
3/4 cup shredded fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add pasta; reduce heat to medium, and cook 9 to 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.
While pasta cooks, combine oil and next 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; cook over medium-low heat 3 to 5 minutes or until butter melts and garlic is soft and fragrant, stirring often. Increase heat to medium-high. Add orange juice; cook 3 minutes or until juice reduces slightly, stirring often. Remove from heat; stir in basil. Add pasta to pan, tossing to coat. Stir in cheese, pine nuts, and pepper.
Note: Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat for 1 minute until they are fragrant and begin to take on a golden hue. Transfer to a plate to cool quickly. A Microplane® grater works wonders to get the finest zest from the oranges. Be sure to remove the zest before you juice them.