Orzo with Parmesan and Basil
My family can be a bit eccentric we love all things delicious and beautiful including the Great Outdoors and Food. Camping was something of an art form in my family, one that we perfected in the years before my parents bought their cabin in Duck Creek Utah. Now we go to the cabin not to the tent to get our outdoor fix. But I remember one epic camping trip to Zion we took when I was about ten years old. Our party consisted of my mom, dad, older sister, aunt and uncle. We set up four tents one of which was reserved exclusively for food, wine and lots of Scottish whisky (my father was born in Scotland). This trip was full of scrumptious dinners magically whipped up by my mom and aunt in the crisp open air near the Zion River. Everyone in my family loves to eat and cook good food and to this day I remember my aunt making an orzo pasta dish as a side to the butter and garlic stake that went perfectly with the pasta. So, in the great outdoors by the running Zion River and with the chill of autumn in the air she began to boil salted water and chop basil leaves my job was to grate what seemed like a mountain of parmesan cheese.
1/2 pound orzo pasta
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Serves: 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish.
Fill a large pot with salted water and allow it to come to a boil.
When the water is boiling add the pasta and cook for about ten minutes or until just done.
Strain the past with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl. You will need to reserve the past water for later.
Add the parmesan, olive oil and basil to the hot pasta and toss together, allowing the cheese to melt. If the pasta seams too thick add a tablespoon or two of the pasta water to thin it out a bit.
Parmesan cheese can be quite salty so be sure to taste it before adding any more. Add some fresh ground pepper to taste and serve immediately.
It wasn’t until my twenties that I first attempted to recreate my aunt’s pasta dish and to the delight of everyone, including myself, it was just as good as we all remembered on that chilly fall evening all those years ago. It’s wonderful as a side dish or for a quick lunch.
P.S. If you want to kick up the flavor even more you can infuses garlic into your olive oil yumminess!