Risotto-Style Orzo with Vegetables and Chicken Sausage

Getting myself into the kitchen the last few days has been a struggle. The weather has been more Fall-like than August-like; perfect for al fresco dining. Not having a deck or patio to sit on means we’ve gone out most of those nights to celebrate the beautiful weather. Going out means I haven’t been cooking. Plus, life and work have been non-stop and I am flat out exhausted at the end of the day. Cooking is the last thing I want to do. So, we spent a few days at the end of the week going out to dinner just to give me a cooking break. It was nice. We can’t live on restaurant meals forever (we could, but our wallets and waistlines would disagree), so back to the kitchen I went. I had a mish-mash of ingredients left over from the week and wasn’t really sure what I wanted to make. I knew I had to use up the chicken sausage in the fridge, so I turned to my old friend Pinterest, who pointed me in the direction of Table for Two’s Creamy Orzo with Chicken Sausage. Perfect for a cool, damp August night. I left out the mushrooms since I didn’t have any (shocking, I know). I swapped the chicken broth for veggie stock that was already in the fridge, and I added some red pepper for some extra nutrients. The orzo is cooked in a manner that achieves a risotto like texture. The spicy chicken sausage that I used was balanced by the sweetness of the onion and the zucchini. The result was a creamy dish loaded with flavor. Plus, it was on the table in 30 minutes and only dirtied one pot.

Quarter and thinly slice one zucchini. Dice one red pepper, one sweet onion and three garlic cloves.

Risotto-Style Orzo with Vegetables and Chicken Sausage

Heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the vegetables and cook 4-5 minutes until softened.

Risotto-Style Orzo with Vegetables and Chicken Sausage

While the vegetables cook, slice four chicken sausages into half moon shapes. I used a spicy cilantro version of chicken sausage which had a ton of flavor. Add the sausage to the vegetables and stir to combine.

Risotto-Style Orzo with Vegetables and Chicken Sausage

Add to the pot 1.5 cups of orzo. Toast lightly for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned.

Risotto-Style Orzo with Vegetables and Chicken Sausage

To the pot, add two cups of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once.

Risotto-Style Orzo with Vegetables and Chicken Sausage

Remove the lid. Most of the liquid should be absorbed. Add a few tablespoons of heavy cream and one can of diced tomatoes with the liquid. Season with salt and pepper and return the lid to the pan. Cook 4-5 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

Risotto-Style Orzo with Vegetables and Chicken Sausage

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and basil to serve.

Risotto-Style Orzo with Vegetables and Chicken Sausage

Risotto-Style Orzo with Vegetables and Chicken Sausage
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced
  2. 1 red pepper, diced
  3. 1 sweet onion, diced
  4. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1 package chicken sausage, cut in half moons
  6. 1.5 cups orzo
  7. 2 cups vegetable broth
  8. 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  9. 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  10. Salt and pepper
  11. Parmesan cheese, for serving
  12. Basil, for serving
Instructions
  1. Heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the vegetables and cook 4-5 minutes until softened.
  2. Add the sausage to the vegetables and stir to combine. Add orzo and toast for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned.
  3. To the pot, add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once.
  4. Remove the lid. Most of the liquid should be absorbed. Add heavy cream diced tomatoes with the liquid. Season with salt and pepper and return the lid to the pan. Cook 4-5 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  5. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and basil to serve.
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