Saturday, January 24, 2009

Minestra di Orzo e Lenticchie

This is one more dish from last month’s La Cucina Italiana, and then I promise to move on and cook other things. Orzo in the title is Italian for barley rather than the name for rice-shaped pasta. Barley must be the new lemon because I've been using it so much in one month. Lenticchie are lentils, which I love year round, but they are especially perfect in this wintry soup. I didn’t find the castelluccio or colfiorito lentils recommended in the recipe, so I used the basic brown lentils, the origins of which I don’t know, from the bulk section at Central Market.

Onion, carrot, and celery were sautéed in a large skillet before the barley, lentils, and white wine were added. That combination cooked until the wine was reduced to almost nothing, and then vegetable broth was added and allowed to simmer. Scooped into bowls and anointed with olive oil, it was served with a few chopped celery leaves on top. Sitting down to a meal of soup sounds less than hearty, but this particular soup will surprise you. It retains some broth, but the barley absorbs quite a lot of the liquid. So, even though it’s not creamy or blended, it feels like a thick soup. One small bowl was enough for me to feel full and happy. It’s a simple meal, but the chewy barley and tender lentils in the hot flavorful broth are unbelievably filling and satisfying.



9 comments:

  1. Love orzo, I have to remember to incorporate this into my soup next time. It sounds delicious.
    Cheers,
    Elra

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  2. I love to cook with orzo also - the soup looks wonderful!

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  3. oh lisa, this would be a party in the mouth, both taste- and texture-wise! fabulous. :)

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  4. I've been making a soup (or two) a week in the winter months. This one looks very lovely.

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  5. Given the choice between clear light soups, and thick hearty ones, I'll almost always go for the clear one, but the problem is that I end up getting hungry within 2 hours. This would definitely fill me up and keep me full till the next meal:-)

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  6. I had no idea that orzo meant barley. Very interesting. This sounds yummy!

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  7. So hearty! I love the idea of barley in soups :)

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  8. Now you have just given me three reasons to bookmark your site...I have always loved your blog, but three in a row...I am buying barley, and trying to keep our diet here at home to barley and quinoa for various reasons...I love it!

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