Thursday, May 27, 2010

Italian Chicken with Orzo

First, my apologies for neglecting my blog! I've been sleeping better, so instead of being awake at 3 am. and writing, my head is on the pillow and I'm in dreamland. That's always good.

There are two things that I get every year for Christmas/birthday no matter what. Cooks Country magazine (yes, just like the tv show on PBS) and Southern Living. I could not live without either. THANKS MOM! Between those two and Food Network, I would not be the cook that I am. When I first started watching Food Network, I will admit that I really did start with How to Boil Water. (Cooking 101, as I dubbed it.)

Today's recipe came from the Cook's Country magazine, April/May 2010 issue. It's very yummy and there were no leftovers. I even used the fresh basil that my sweet hubby is growing on our front porch!

So, here we go!

Italian Chicken with Orzo

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 c. orzo (tiny pasta shaped like rice)
2 Tbsp. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil

1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and rub all over with oregano, pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.

2. Toast orzo in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until golden brown, 3-5 minutes; transfer to bowl. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in empty skillet until shimmering. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side; transfer to plate.

3. Add garlic and remaining oil to empty skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, broth, and toasted orzo and bring to boil. Return chicken, along with any accumulated juices, to skillet and cook, covered, over medium0low heat until chicken is cooked through and orzo is tender, 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with basil. Serve.

Notes: Petite diced tomatoes are the way to go. If you can't find them, take regular diced tomatoes and pulse them in the food processor or blender until finely chopped.

If you don't know how to chop basil, it's an artform. You stack the leaves and roll it up like a big, fat cigar, then finely slice it. It's like basil confetti! (Credit to Emeril and Rachael Ray for teaching me this one.)

I didn't do it this time, just because I was in a hurry and forgot my brain, but serve with lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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