You know you’re onto something amazing when you decide to skip adding the cheese.
That’s right, I was planning to add a good amount of queso to this recipe and once I’d finished making it I realized it was just not necessary. In fact, the flavor was so perfect that I didn’t want the cheese to mess it up by adding cheese to distract from it. I mean, this was such a classic case of “why fix what ain’t broke?”.
So the topic of orzo is something of a humorous controversy in my house. Not that it isn’t very popular, but when I served this I kept getting asked to explain the purpose of rice-shaped pasta. If you want to eat rice why not just make rice, you know? Like, who is it for? Obviously if it were the other way around, rice pasta for example, it makes sense because it’s a gluten free alternative, but orzo is a little curious. My argument for it is that it does cook much faster and a little differently than rice. It has it’s purposes, okay!
Besides, it doesn’t have to make sense because this meal is pretty close to perfection. It’s packed with flavor, simple to make, pretty minimal on the ingredients, and I feel like it’s a pretty family-friendly type of meal (meaning the picky kiddos liked it).
Also, a great way to cut the time on this recipe is to have the peppers roasted and cooled ahead of time. I did that for one of my recipe trials and it made things so quick and easy.
The key is not to skip roasting the pepper. I realize it might seem like an unnecessary or long step, but trust me, its worth it for the flavor it gives this dish.
I’ve served it as both a main dish and a side dish. I can’t wait to hear what you think when the smell of this deliciousness is floating through your kitchen!
Roasted Red Pepper+Chicken Orzo Pasta Skillet (Vegan)
- 1 pound uncooked orzo pasta
- 4 large bell peppers I used red, but any color works well
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups shelled sweet peas frozen or canned
- fresh chives chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degree F (200 C) and line a tray with foil. Lay the pepper evenly on the tray and place in the oven to bake for 25-35 minutes until they start to wrinkle and get brown spots. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.
Once the peppers have cooled, place them in the blender along with the garlic cloves. Blend until completely smooth then add the mixture, along with the onions, paprika, and the thyme to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat . Add about 1/2 inch of water and stir over heat for 7-8 minutes until it cooks down a bit and starts to thicken.
Reduce heat to low and add the vegetable stock and orzo. Cover pan and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once all the liquid is absorbed and add the peas heat until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
Remove the thyme sprig and serve immediately topped with fresh chives.