Cheesey Basil Orzo Pasta

2 tbsp Olive oil
1 c. Orzo pasta
1 can Chicken broth (14.5 ounce)
1/2 c. Red onion, chopped
1/4 c. Fresh basil, chopped

1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetarian option: substitute the chicken broth with a vegetable broth.

Heat the olive oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in orzo and saute until lightly browned.

Stir in chicken stock and bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 - 20 minutes.

While the orzo is cooking, chop up the fresh basil and set aside.

Soften the red onion in a small frying pan using a little bit of olive oil. Set aside.

When the orzo is cooked, stir in the red onion, fresh basil and the parmesan cheese.

Season with salt and pepper.

My comments:

I made myself a little herb garden this summer and I was desparately looking for recipes to use my fresh herbs. I wanted to explore new recipes with herbs I'm growing and my hubby came across this easy pasta side dish using fresh basil. My favourite herb is the sweet basil because it smells fantastic. So I was pretty excited about trying this new recipe.

I have made this pasta a few times and I have made a few modifications to the original recipe. I subtituted the butter with olive oil because I found the butter taste a little overpowering. I also wanted to make this dish "healthier", so I only added enough oil to brown the orzo. I was a little skeptical at the "browning" step the first time I made the pasta but it turned out really easy to do and it gave the orzo an amazing aroma. Also, I added the red onion to the pasta because it made the dish more flavourful.

This was one of the best side dish I have ever made. It was easy to do and it tasted really good. My hubby liked it so much that he kept asking me to make more. I found the most important thing in perfecting this dish is the use of a flat bottom heavy skillet. The flat bottom allows the orzo to brown evenly, which you can't do with a wok-shaped pan.