Sausage-Vegetable Orzo

I have a confession to make. While I generally adore all things pork, I have never really liked sausages – something about the mystery of what was actually inside those slimy casings had really put me off. Everything changed this year, however, when I met Kingston, Ontario’s Mike McKenzie, an artisanal charcuterie wizard. His Seed to Sausage salumi, bacon and sausages are out of this world – flavourful and made with care using quality local ingredients. This dish is my interpretation of something tasty created by Giada de Laurentiis. I like to use Mike’s caramelized onion and roasted pepper sausages for this dish but feel free to use any mild or hot Italian sausages instead. Even picky eaters seem to like this dish. Maybe it’s the cute little orzo pasta??

Sausage and vegetables blended with al-dente orzo make a delicious ‘meal in a dish’.

Ingredients
1 pound orzo pasta
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 good quality sausages
½ Spanish onion, chopped
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
½ medium zucchini, sliced thinly
½ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
¼ tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup feta, crumbled (for garnish)

Method

  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  • Remove the casings from the sausages and sauté until cooked through, about 6 minutes, using the back of a spoon to crumble them as they cook.
  • Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the tomatoes, zucchini, basil and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Cover and let sit while orzo cooks.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • I don’t usually drain the pasta – I serve it quite soupy because we like orzo this way. If you prefer it a little drier, drain the pasta but be sure to reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
  • Transfer pasta to a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss well to combine all ingredients. If you drained the pasta, add reserved cooking liquid and stir.
  • Serve into bowls; top with the feta and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

Serves 4 – 6. If you by some miracle have any leftovers, add more chicken broth or water when reheating it the next day.

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About Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.
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