Growing cherry tomatoes is gratifying because the plants produce so much fruit. I take a cupful of these grape-sweet beauties to eat with my lunch almost every day now. And I am always trying to find ways to add them to the recipes I cook.
Last night, with not much time left on hand after walking the dogs and running a couple of errands, I debated between ordering out and throwing something together that would take me less than half an hour. Eating in won, and that was because I knew I had on hand some orzo pasta and a basketful of just-picked cherry tomatoes that could be rustled together into a tasty and nutritious meal.
Orzo is one of Desi’s favorite pastas, because, I suspect, it looks a lot like rice which is his favorite food in the world. It is also quick-cooking because of its tiny size — a boon for the busy cook.
The pasta sauce is extra simple but also extra flavorful: extra virgin olive oil, tons of garlic and pepper. The cherry tomatoes and a handful of fresh basil, also from my garden, provide even more flavor and freshness.
- 1 pound orzo
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 8-10 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
- 2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
- A couple of handfuls of fresh basil leaves, cut into strips or just torn by hand
- About half of an 8-oz package of vegan mozzarella cheese, cubed (add more if you like!)
- Salt to taste
- Cook the orzo al dente according to package instructions and drain.
- Heat the olive oil in a wide saucepan.
- Add the garlic slices and stir for about a minute until they are just very lightly brown. Do not burn them!
- Add the black pepper and stir for a few seconds, then add the orzo. Stir it well to coat with the flavored oil.
- Turn off the heat and add the cherry tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Salt to taste. Toss and serve immediately!
- It's as simple as that.
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