This pasta was so very comforting and hit the spot! The orzo pasta is chewy, and the caramelized vegetables add layers of flavor to the pasta.
The garlic, ginger and sage add wonderful flavor, just enough; not overpowering. I love a pasta that is so flavorful that it does not need any type of sauce, and this is exactly that!
This Orzo Pasta dish is very simple to put together. After boiling the orzo pasta, you only need to use one skillet for this dish.
Have everything chopped up and ready to go before you start to cook, ready to go in and caramelize in steps. This is important.
It is not complicated, but you need to follow the instructions below. You put the sweet potatoes in first, cook until they start to brown a bit, then push them to the side and throw in the onions.
Once the onions start to caramelize, you push those over and add garlic. Do the same with ginger and mushrooms.
Use one large skillet over fairly high heat, add the ingredients in order according to instructions, pushing them to the side of the pan as they cook. Easy!
My favorite part was deglazing the pan with a mixture of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. I am a huge balsamic vinegar fan, so I loved that this recipe utilizes this ingredient.
You serve this hot, but I liked it cold the next day eaten as a pasta salad, too.
It is hearty and filling, and it is vegan if you leave the Parmesan cheese off.
My girls loved it and were bummed the next day when I ate the leftovers for lunch and there was not any left for them. They wanted it as an afternoon snack!
I wondered if the green kale would throw them but it is chopped so finely that it looks like an herb and they didn’t even notice it.
It makes a lot and would make a great main dish for vegetarians or a great side dish for meat eaters!
Orzo Caramelized with Fall Vegetables & Ginger
serves 4 as a main dish and 6 as a side dish
1/2 pound orzo pasta
Grapeseed, peanut, or vegetable oil
1 large sweet potato (about 3/4 pound)
2 medium onions (about 1 pound), finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3-inch piece fresh ginger — peeled and grated, about 1 tablespoon
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps diced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 big leaves chard or kale, stalks removed and leaves finely chopped — about 2 cups
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large pot of water to boiling and salt it generously. Cook the orzo until barely al dente — about 6 to 7 minutes. Drain and toss with a generous drizzle of oil so that the grains of orzo are lightly coated with oil. Set aside.
Peel the sweet potato and dice it finely into cubes about 1/4 to 1/2 inch to a side. Heat a large sauté or frying pan (the largest you have — you want plenty of room and hot surface) over high heat. Drizzle in a little grapeseed or vegetable oil (not olive oil — you want an oil with a high smoke point) and heat until very hot. Add the sweet potatoes and arrange them in one layer. Cook them over high heat until they are beginning to caramelize and turn brown — about 4 minutes. Flip them over and cook for another 3 minutes or so.
Turn the heat down to medium and push the sweet potatoes up in a pile against one side of the pan. Add the diced onions to the center of the pan and sprinkle them lightly with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are beginning to turn brown. Add the minced garlic and grated ginger and stir them into the onions. Push the onions off to the side of the pan, next to the sweet potatoes, where they will continue to caramelize.
Add the diced shiitake mushrooms to the hot center of the pan and cook them for 4 minutes without turning them. Then flip and stir them and cook for another 4 minutes.
At this point everything should be getting well-cooked; the onions should be quite dark brown and the garlic should be golden and soft. The potatoes should be softening.
Finally, toss the chopped greens into the mix and cook for 1 more minute or until the greens are barely wilted. Turn off the heat and taste. Add salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot, with shavings of Parmesan if desired.