Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cooking from the garden: Green beans and tomatoes on orzo with goat cheese

The garden offered up a bucket full of green beans and a couple of big, juicy red beefsteak tomatoes today, and I decided to put them together in a Mediterranean-style pasta dish over orzo with some crumbled Kentucky-made Sapori d’Italia Rustica al Pepe Nero cheese.

After plucking the general idea out of the air, I consulted with Chef Google and found a 1998 Gourmet magazine recipe for Orzo with Feta, Green Beans, and Tomatoes that looked pretty good.  Click this link to see the Gourmet original on 

Naturally I had to modify it a bit ...
subbing the locavore Sapori d’Italia goat cheese for Gourmet’s feta and changing around a step or two to make the dish simpler and, in my opinion, more straightforward and fresh.  I’m sure the original would have been vine, but my version definitely hit the spot, and went very nicely with a fresh, crisp E. Guigal 2012 Côtes-du-Rhône Rosé.

Here’s the recipe as I did it.  If you try it, or something like it, let me know how it goes!

2-3 cups fresh green beans, cut into short lengths
1/2 cup orzo
1 small onion
1-2 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 large, fresh beefsteak tomato or several fresh plum tomatoes
Dried red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher or flake salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup crumbled mild goat cheese

  1. Trim the beans and cut them into 1-inch lengths. Parboil them in boiling salted water until they’re crisp-tender, then stop with cold water, drain and reserve.
  2. Meanwhile, start the orzo boiling in a large pot. Chop the onion and mince the garlic. Peel, seed and dice the tomato.
  3. Cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil with red and black peppers and salt over moderate heat until they start to brown. Add the prepped tomatoes and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes start to soften.
  4. Add the beans to the tomato, onion and garlic mixture and continue to simmer gently so the flavors blend.
  5. When the orzo is al dente, drain it and stir it in to the veggies.  Add the lemon juice, check seasoning, and top with the crumbled cheese.
Buon' appetito!