The other day as I was perusing Instagram stories for the 592,094,701-th time that day, one of my fave mom ‘grammers posted about her healthy lunch with orzo and greens and I don’t even remember what else. It looked amazing, but she kept apologizing for talking about food and giving us a demo. NEVER APOLOGIZE. We all want to know how and what you moms feed yourselves. (Lookin’ at you, Sarah Hart)
When I got to Trader Joe’s yesterday and spotted the orzo I got all *praise hands emoji* and super-inspired.
And thus was this recipe was born. It’s currently in the running for my husband’s favorite dinner.
- 1 lb. spoicy* Italian sausage (all I had was pre-cooked, so I diced it up. I would have much preferred raw spicy Italian sausage, so that’s how I’m writing this recipe.)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium zucchini (all you people who grow your own zucchini, medium does NOT mean the size of your entire arm, even though I know that’s your medium-sized zucchini)
- 2 C raw spinach (can you tell I’m desperately trying to add more veg into my recipes?)
- 1 ½ C chopped artichoke hearts (if you don’t like these as much as I do, you can pare it down, but DON’T.)
- Juice of 1 lemon (a real lemon, not the juice in the bottle, y’all.)
- 3 C cooked orzo (save some of the pasta water!)
- 1 C grated fresh parmagiano
*spoicy was a typo we accidentally used once in college and I just like it better than the original. Say it out loud. You won’t regret it.
Add the raw Italian sausage to a heated pan and cook it halfway. Make sure your pan is large enough so the meal has room to grow. A sauté pan with tall sides would be ideal, but since we live in an Airbnb, I used an extra-big frying pan that was in our kitchen. At halfway, the sausage should still be pink with a little bit of browning. At this point add the chopped zucchini and a generous salting. Cook until the sausage is completely cooked and the zucchini is tender.
Add the spinach and cover the pan until it’s wilted. If you don’t have a pan with a lid, use the line cook’s trick and cover it with a cookie sheet. Add a little water if it needs more steam in there. This will also help cook the zucchini.
Stir in the chopped artichoke hearts. This adds that delightful acidity that recipes like this always need. Squeeze in half the lemon juice.
Add cooked orzo. NB: DO NOT over-cook the orzo, otherwise this ends up being a tasteless mush of gluten glue and no one likes that.
Add fresh parmigiano and a little of the pasta water that you saved because you’re a Nice Person who knows how Pasta likes to be treated. Stir. Squeeze the rest of the lemon juice over it. Voila!
Next time I make this, I’d like to add some roasted cherry tomatoes and a little feta. I’ll add a note to the bottom of this post if I like it.