Fine. I’ll go skiing. And make orzo broccoli pesto.

jen's splash

RECIPE: Orzo with broccoli pesto.

It’s been an incredibly decent December here in Oregon. Very little rain. Cold, sure. I learned that biking in 30ish degree weather requires two pairs of gloves, not one. TWO.

We won’t talk about how this lack of rain might be BAD for water supply or anything like that. Nope. I’m just glad my waiting-for-the-bus routines aren’t nearly as miserable. No pouring December rain. Well, except for this morning.

Anyway. For Ken, a sunny day on Christmas eve meant skiing.

(Complete with visitors who perch on said skis. HA.)

I’m not a skier. I’m pretty rickety at best. And bemoan the cold. But Ken, for whatever reason, finds glee in skiing. He was on ski teams. Does helicopter ski adventures. Ya. He actually perks up at the mention of snow when it makes me want to curl up indoors with a book by the fire — never mind that I don’t actually have a fireplace.

He convinced me to go cross-country skiing. The trade off? He would try snowboarding. (Which I’m also no good at but have done a handful of times more than cross-country and it’s a bit more my style.)

(Yes, I know you’re appalled that I used a snowboarding photo for you Ken. But hey, I didn’t use the falling one. So you’re welcome.)

It was a good day overall. I think the sun helped. The clear sky. Easy trail. The sign even said that. “Easier trail.” Thanks.

Great before-Christmas-feast exercise.

What was my contribution to the holiday meal, you ask?

An orzo pasta with broccoli, tossed in a ‘pesto’ sauce made from more broccoli, lemon, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and spices. Thanks Heidi! Always a fan of more orzo.

Ignore the fact that I burnt the rest of the pine nuts, that should have been toasted and tossed in the dish. (I was talking to my brother on the phone and forgot about them entirely.) Quick substitution was toasted almond slivers.

Topped with some grated lemon zest and sliced avocado.  And oh, lots of wine. See?

My Aunt Theresa, me and my mom on Christmas.

RECIPE RATING: 3.5 of 5 glasses of red wine. I like it. But it wasn’t the standout dish for Christmas dinner. (Damn those mashed potatoes with cream, butter and roasted garlic!) Maybe make it on an unassuming weeknight and it’ll rate higher. But simple and tasty for sure.

Orzo pasta with broccoli pesto
Author: Jen, via 101 Cookbooks
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo (it called for whole wheat but I couldn’t find any)
  • 5 cups broccoli florets and thinly sliced stems
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted (don’t burn!)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt, add orzo, and cook according to package instructions. Mine was 10 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain well again. I tossed in a little olive oil when I set the pasta aside, too, just to make sure it didn’t stick together.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the broccoli. Bring 3/4 cup water to a boil in a large pot. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for 1 minute until bright green but still slightly crunchy. Drain and rise well and set aside.
  3. Make the pesto: Combine 2 cups of the cooked broccoli, garlic, half of the pine nuts, Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Drizzle in olive oil and creme fraiche /sour cream until smooth.
  4. Toss orzo and remaining cooked broccoli florets with the broccoli pesto. Add the lemon zest. Thin with a bit of warm water if needed for desired consistency. Adjust seasoning by adding more salt, lemon juice, or pepper. Serve topped with remaining pine nuts and sliced avocado.


This entry was posted in 3 Wine Glasses, 4 Wine Glasses, Dinner, Lunch, Pasta, Side Dish, Vegetarian and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Fine. I’ll go skiing. And make orzo broccoli pesto.

  1. Ken says:

    I think you underrated the ski day, your skiing (you did Screamer Hill!) and the pasta dish. All were excellent! :)

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