Once I started making this recipe, I realized that it isn't exactly the kind of dish that requires a recipe. It's very simple and is just some basic ingredients thrown together. The other thing that I realized is that it is important to have good quality ingredients, since there is so much emphasis on the ingredients themselves without sauce or seasonings.
I did not have high-quality ingredients, and I ended up being really disappointed. It was not delicious. I quadrupled the amount of pine nuts, because I absolutely love pine nuts, and I used lemon juice instead of lemon zest. However, I don't think these changes were the cause of the mediocrity of my dinner. I would not make this recipe again.
Orzo with Artichokes and Pine Nuts
from Gourmet, 5/06
Canned artichoke hearts give this dish a Mediterranean flavor without the work involved in preparing fresh ones.
1 1/2 cups orzo (10 oz)
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 (14-oz) can whole artichoke hearts (not marinated)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
Cook orzo in a 4- to 5-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain in a colander.
While orzo cooks, lightly toast pine nuts in a dry small skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until pale golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool 1 minute, then coarsely chop.
Drain artichoke hearts in a large sieve and rinse well. Pull off leaves from bases of hearts and quarter bases. Rinse leaves and bases well, then drain thoroughly.
Stir together oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add orzo, pine nuts, artichokes (leaves and bases), parsley, and zest and toss to combine.
Makes 4 side-dish servings.
Picture from the magazine: