Thursday, March 4, 2010

Greek Orzo with Meatballs

I've been cooking, and our family has been eating. And (most of the time) I remember to take pictures, but there seems to be a disconnect between that step and writing the blog. So, as I sit down at lunchtime, I thought I'd peek through the photo lying in wait, and start trying to catch up. Do I start with the oldest? The most recent? After browsing the albums, I knew I had to start with this one - yummy comfort food!
My sister shared the inspirational link for this dish. As soon as I saw it, I knew I'd be making it. Soon. I was planning to make Swedish meatballs during (Jim's) week in Sweden, but somehow I ended up making this Greek dish instead! So, the meatballs themselves I used in this dish were not the recipe from the link above. Nor were they a real Swedish meatball either. In fact, I'm not sure they were the right ones to accompany these flavors, so I would do something else next time. But, in the spirit of forging and succeeding in blogging during lunchtime, I don't want to delay sharing the secret to this deliciousness.
The way the orzo bakes in the broth (instead of cooking, then draining) is so wonderfully creamy, especially when combined with the cheese on top. This is definitely comfort food in my book. And, love the excuse to use my (no longer quite so) new pot!

Greek Orzo and Meatballs
Only slightly modified from Ivy's Feast

2 Tablespoons (Greek) olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 1/2 cups whole wheat orzo
4 cups (1 box) chicken broth
4 ounces creamy feta cheese, crumbled (for topping pasta last ten minutes of baking)
1 pound of ground meat made into meatball (use Ivy's or your favorite recipe)

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat the olive oil in enameled pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and saute until onion is tender, 8 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano and dill, saute 20 seconds. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 1 minute. Take pan off of the heat and add the orzo and chicken broth. Stir to combine, cover, then transfer to oven and bake for 30 minutes.

While orzo is baking, make meatballs. Sautee on stove top until brown on all sides and cooked through.

After 30 minutes, remove pot from the oven and stir pasta gently. Add meatballs, pushing them into the pasta slightly. Then sprinkle with feta cheese and return to oven, continue to bake another 10 minutes until the sauce is bubbling. Let stand for 10 more minutes before serving, the pasta will absorb moisture as it cools

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