Monday, February 14, 2011
Meatless Monday AND Valentine's Day
Giouvets (Orzo) with Fresh Vegetables
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. extra virgin Greek olive oil
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and coarsely chopped
½ tsp. cinnamon
4 large carrots, cut into ¼ inch cubes
6 cups water
1 lb./450 g orzo
1 cup chopped, canned tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs fresh oregano
8 fresh basil leaves, julienned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp/ grated orange zest
1 ½ lbs./650 g zucchini, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
½ - 1 cup Greek feta, crumbled
1. In a large, nonstick frying pan over medium heat, warm 4 tbsp. olive oil. Add the onion, celery, and fennel. Cook, stirring, for about 8 minutes, until soft. Add the cinnamon and stir for a minute or two. Remove the vegetables from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Wipe the skillet clean.
2. Heat two more tbsp. olive oil over low -medium heat and cook the carrots for about 15 minutes, until soft.
3. Preheat the oven to 375º/190˚C. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot, add 2 teaspoons of salt, then add the orzo. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove from heat.
4. Place the orzo and cooking water in a large, deep, heat-proof glass baking dish. Add the vegetables (not the zucchini, which is cooked separately; see below) to the orzo. Add the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, bay leaves, oregano, and basil. Add the orange zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir gently. Bake the giouvetsi, covered with aluminum foil or the pan’s lid, for 30 minutes.
5. In the meantime, heat 2 more tablespoons olive oil in the skillet (wipe it clean first) and sauté the zucchini over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring. Add the garlic and stir all together for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add this mixture to the orzo and continue baking, covered, for about another 45 minutes to one hour, until the orzo is tender and has absorbed all the liquid in the pan without becoming dry, however. Remove the bay leaves and oregano sprigs. Stir in 2 to 3 more tablespoons olive oil and the balsamic. Sprinkle or stir in the feta and serve.