With its rice-shaped orzo and creamy texture, this pasta may remind you of risotto—but it's easier to make, since you don't have to stir and stir and stir.
Sauvignon-blanc-based wines go particularly well with goat cheese, and a piquant Sancerre, with its grassy currant and gooseberry fruit, will make this dish sing.
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 in all)
- Fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound orzo
- 1/4 pound mild goat cheese, such as Montrachet
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Put the chicken in the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Turn and cook until just done, about 5 minutes longer. Remove. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut the breasts crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the same pan over moderately high heat. Put in the bell pepper, shiitakes, thyme and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds longer. Remove from the heat.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the orzo until just done, about 12 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water; drain the orzo.
In the frying pan, combine the reserved pasta water with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the goat cheese, cream, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring almost to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the orzo, chicken, and 3 tablespoons of the parsley and stir to combine. Serve topped with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Food and Wine. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
920 calories; 36g total fat; 137mg cholesterol; 263mg sodium; 89g carbohydrates; 4g fiber; 56g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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