It's reveal day for this month's Improv Challenge. The premise of the Improv Challenge is easy: each month there are two assigned ingredients. The participants must make a recipe using both ingredients and blog about it.
This month's ingredients were pasta and cheese. So many options! It was an easy decision for me though. I pinned a Taste of Home recipe for Garlic Parmesan Orzo a while back and it has been one of my most popular pins. I get tons of emails every day telling me all the repins it's gotten. As of today, it's been repinned over 300 times. So I just had to make it. I actually did make it once before, but the only orzo I could find at my local store was really weird and the dish didn't turn out right at all. Late last month I got the chance to stop by a Trader Joes while in Milwaukee and picked up some decent orzo and gave this recipe another shot. I'm glad I did because it was fantastic. I made a few changes; here's my version.
Garlic Parmesan Orzo
2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
4 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, grated
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
¼ - ½ cup milk
Cook orzo according to package directions just until al dente; drain.
Melt butter in a large skillet. Sauté garlic in butter until tender. Add the orzo, Parmesan cheese, and ¼ cup milk. Stir until heated through, adding more milk until desired creaminess. Pour orzo into a serving bowl and top with more grated Parmesan and some dried dill.
Makes 6-8 servings.
The original recipe called for a whole stick of butter, but that seemed like way too much. I cut it in half and that was just perfect. I used a little dried dill because it needed something green and I don't care for parsley. Fresh would have been even better, but the dried worked just fine. I used two large cloves of garlic, and at first I didn't find the dish very garlicky. But I noticed it later. And the garlic was even more prominent in the leftovers. Please make sure you use fresh Parmesan for this recipe. I keep the green can on hand for certain things, but this is one dish that needs the real (fresh) deal.
This made the perfect side dish for some ribs and corn on the cob as one of our last summertime dinners.
Check out all the other awesome pasta and cheese recipes below and come back next month to see what I make with cake and frosting!