Italian, Lunch, Dinner and Entrees

Italian Spread – orzo mushroom risotto, ’caulipower’ penne and roasted mini peppers

Today we made it an Italian spread for dinner –

☝️Orzo risotto overloaded with mushrooms 

✌️ Caulipower penne with broccoli and cherry tomato – dressed simply with olive oil and balsamic vinegar – this one turned out to be surprisingly amazing! 

🤟 Oven roasted sweet mini-peppers 

I started off with an idea to make something creamy and cheesy for the kids. They have always enjoyed the decadent risottos in Italian restaurants but we all know the secret to that is rich heavy cream. I try to avoid it for the most part, occasional indulgences notwithstanding. 🤪😜 

Instead of making risotto with arborio rice, which is starchy, I decided to use whole wheat orzo pasta. This preparation was a simple one, with loads of fresh mushrooms – I used shiitake, maitake and a mix of wild mushrooms. Mushrooms and green peas are another beautiful combination for creamy pastas, so I brought in some peas. Keeping the risotto light by using almond milk, it became creamy, but at the same time, was very easy to go for seconds. 🤭

To make the risotto, start off by sautéing red onion and garlic. Add mushrooms and green peas. Add paprika. Sprinkle some plain flour and make a smooth roux with almond milk. Add the orzo, mix well and add some more almond milk to required consistency. It practically takes 10 minutes to toss together. 

Sweet mini-peppers are easy to roast with simple olive oil, Italian seasoning, and salt in the oven. Simple and sweet! 🙂 From the dish to roasting in the oven ⏳

Next, I experimented for the first time with ‘caulipower’ penne pasta. I have tried cauliflower pizzas crusts and really enjoy them a lot. For the penne, brought in broccoli and cherry tomatoes for the veggies. Only 2 ingredient dressing – extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The bittersweet taste of balsamic with the sweet pops of cherry tomato provided the perfect balance of taste. The caulipower pasta was crisp and tender and something we will be trying more varieties in the future. 

Try out these easy recipes and as always give me your comments 🙏

Mushroom orzo risotto

Creamy mushroom risotto with orzo pasta

This risotto replaces arborio rice with whole wheat orzo pasta. This preparation is a simple one with loads of fresh mushrooms – shiitake, maitake and a mix of wild mushrooms. Mushrooms and green peas are another beautiful combination for creamy pastas. The risotto is very delicate and light due to using almond milk. It is creamy, at the same time very easy to go for seconds 🤭
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Whole wheat orzo pasta
  • 2 cups mixed Mushrooms sliced
  • 1 cup Fresh green peas if using frozen completely thawed
  • 1 Red onion sliced
  • 2 pods Garlic sliced
  • 1 tbsp Plain flour
  • 2 cups Almond milk
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • Salt

Instructions

  • Cook the orzo pasta with salt as per package directions to al dente texture
  • Start a large skillet on the stove
  • Add olive oil, saute the onions and garlic
  • Add the mushrooms and sauté on high heat
  • Next add the peas and cook for 3-4 minutes until peas are tender
  • Now season with salt and paprika
  • Next reduce heat and sprinkle the flour, mixing well
  • Add 1 cup of almond milk and mix very well to a smooth consistency
  • Add the pasta, mix thoroughly, add the remaining cup of almond milk and cook to a smooth creamy consistency, serve immediately ! 

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