Orzo is pretty popular in my house. My daughter asks for this rice-shaped pasta on a regular basis and can usually devour an entire bowl-full on her own. She is so tiny that I have no idea where she puts it all. Orzo trumps rice in our house, hands down. It is perfect for salads, which are my favorite or even for simple pasta dishes with just butter and parmesan. This particular recipe calls for a filling of orzo, tomatoes, grated zucchini, and cheese. For herbs, the recipe calls for mint, but since I am not a fan of mint in savory dishes, I substituted with basil. It works perfectly. This mixture is spooned into sweet large peppers and roasted to perfection. Of course I had to add a little cheese on top to get that crispy crust I love and added a little extra basil on top right from my garden. A meal in itself!
1 (28-ounce) can Italian tomatoes
2 zucchini, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (I used basil)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups orzo
6 sweet bell peppers (red or yellow)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and break apart using a pair of kitchen shears. Add the zucchini, mint (or basil), cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the orzo and cook for 4 minutes. Do not fully cook. Use a fine sieve to transfer the orzo to the large bowl with the other vegetables. Stir the orzo into the vegetable mix to combine. Transfer the warm chicken broth to a 3-quart baking dish.
Slice the tops off the peppers and remove all ribs and seeds.
Place the peppers in the baking dish with the warm chicken broth. Spoon the orzo mixture into the peppers. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle the top of each pepper with cheese and continue baking until the cheese is golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully transfer the orzo stuffed pepper to a serving plate.