Thursday, May 27, 2010

Creamy Orzo with Chicken, Mushrooms, and Red Peppers

To start off, I have to say that this was pretty good. Nick says it is now in his top five. I don't feel that strongly about it, but it came together quickly and had a yummy flavor that was different than what we normally eat. Next time, however, I will cut the recipe in half, as it easily made enough to feed 6 people!

Creamy Orzo with Chicken, Mushrooms, and Red Peppers

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cut in chunks
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered (I bought them pre-sliced to save time)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cloves finely minced garlic
1 pound orzo pasta
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Squeeze of lemon juice

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the orzo according to package directions. Reserve one cup of pasta water when orzo is done.

While orzo is cooking, chop up your veggies and meat. Having everything on hand and ready to put in the dish is helpful in this one because it all comes together so fast! Then heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet. Brown on all sides, but don't cook through. Add mushrooms, peppers, and thyme.

Stir and let cook 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms and peppers have softened and browned and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer, or until fragrant. At this point, add the cream cheese in bite-sized chunks and stir so it melts and coats the chicken and veggies.

Add the reserved pasta water and bring it to a simmer. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir and then add orzo, parmesan, lemon juice, and parsley. Stir to combine and heat through. Garnish with parmesan and parsley.

Originally from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

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