Not quite Risotto, Kritharaki Me Manitaria, Mushroom Orzo from Maria Loi 'The Greek Diet'

I cannot guarantee that you will 'look and feel like a Greek god or goddess...' as the subtitle of The Greek Diet by Maria Loi with Sarah Toland (William Morrow, October 2014) suggests.

You will surely be sasiated after eating her not quite risotto 'Mushroom Orzo' vegetarian pasta dish.

Kritharaki Me Manitaria (Mushroom "Risotto"):

Serves 8 to 10

1 onion, very finely chopped (by hand or in the food processor)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated tomato (grated on the large holes of a box grater)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds white button mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 cup red wine
About 2 cups vegetable stock or water
One 1-pound package Loi Kritharaki Orzo Pasta (or other whole-grain pasta)
Freshly grated pecorino cheese, for garnish
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Kritharaki Me Manitaria (Mushroom Risotto)

1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the onion until golden and caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes, sprinkling it lightly with salt as it cooks. Add the tomato and garlic and continue to cook until well combined.

2. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are nicely browned, about 10 minutes. The liquid they release as they cook will be used later to coat the pasta. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, and add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf.

3. Pour in the wine and add 2 cups of stock. Continue to cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by one-third. There should be enough liquid in the skillet to comfortably hold all the orzo, about 1 cup. If not, add a little extra water or stock as needed.

4. Preheat a small sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the orzo and cook, stirring, until it turns golden brown and develops a nutty aroma, less than 5 minutes.

5. Carefully add the orzo to the skillet with the mushroom mixture and allow it to cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, about 5 to 10 minutes. If the orzo has absorbed all of the liquid but isn’t quite done, add another ¼ or 1/2 cup of stock to the skillet. Taste the sauce, and add salt and pepper as needed.

6. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. To serve, ladle the pasta into large bowls, sprinkle with pecorino and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from The Greek Diet by Maria Loi with Sarah Tolland -published by William Morrow, October 2014)

Previous Post

Pump Street Bakery, Sourdough Sea Salt Handmade Chocolate from Orford, Suffolk at Chocolate Week London

Oct 11
Will Pump Street Bakery travel to London for Chocolate Week 2014 in their classic Citroen delivery truck? I would like to taste their Sourdough Sea Salt handmade chocolate bar. Chocolate Week takes over London from October 13 to October 19, 2014. (* Pump Street Bakery classic Citroen photo from their Facebook page)
Next Post

Green Sky in Singapore, Comcrop 'Urban Farming' by the Living Project

Oct 14
Compared to other urban farming projects, Comcrop (born in 2013) is still a baby. Yet it proves that even in densely populated cities, Singapore ranked 3rd in most crowded places after Macau and Monaco and before Hong Kong (according to Wikipedia piece), there is room to grow. Green sky in Singapore for Green Day # 271 (* Comcrop image from Comcrop Facebook page)